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Can stainless steel rust?

Many people are surprised to learn that stainless steel is not impervious to rust. However, this is not universally true. In fact, different types of stainless can have different levels of rust-resistance. Choosing the right type of steel for your application is imperative to ensure that you get the corrosion resistance that you need.

What makes steel rust?

Understanding the science behind why some metals rust can help you understand why some other options, such as s31803 stainless steel, are more resistant than some other types.

Rust is a compound called iron oxide. It most frequently forms when iron and oxygen react to one another in the presence of moisture. Often the moisture present in the air is enough.

In some other cases, iron and the chloride in a salt water environment can react to create rust. This can be visible in rebar used in a seawall where it is repeatedly exposed to salt water, which can break it down over time.

In still others, high heat can cause the chromium and carbon to bond to one another and form carbides. This can happen at temperatures between 750 and 1550 degrees Fahrenheit. Steel that is damaged due to heat is considered “sensitized;” in some cases, it can be saved through complex heat treating, but in other cases, it is permanently damaged.

How do you keep iron from rusting?

Iron is made into an amalgam with other metals to make steel. Stainless steel contains a combination of iron, carbon and chromium to prevent corrosion. It may also contain other elements such as manganese and nickel because of the qualities each of those introduce. However, the element most responsible for rust-resistance is chromium. The higher the chromium content, the less likely stainless steel is to rust. In general, stainless steel is made with anywhere from 10.5 to 30 percent chromium.

Choosing the most rust-resistant stainless steel.

There are roughly 150 types of stainless steel; these will have different compositions to accentuate different properties. Duplex stainless steel is typically a good choice. The chromium content of s31803 stainless steel is between 21 and 23 percent to ensure good corrosion resistance in a wide range of applications.

Type 304 is a popular and affordable stainless steel choice; however, it has a lower chromium content than otherwise similar 316. If your application involves exposure to moisture or saltwater, choosing the more expensive 316 can be a better and more durable investment.

We are always happy to help our customers decide which grade of stainless steel is the right one for their application. Get in touch today to discuss the best option for you.

Which stainless steel is least magnetic?

Which stainless steel is least magnetic?

Most people assume that every type of stainless steel is magnetic. It’s all made from iron, right? However, different types of stainless steel have different levels of magnetism, generally due to the steel’s chromium level. 

Ferritic vs Austenitic

Stainless steel is divided into two general types, which each have a different atomic structure. In general, ferritic stainless steel is magnetic, while austenitic types like 904L stainless steel are not. While both types of steel are iron alloys, there are critical differences in how their atoms are arranged that affect not just their levels of magnetic attraction but also other characteristics like their weldability.

In an austenitic stainless steel, the atoms are arranged in what is known as a face-centered cubic (fcc) lattice. Picture the unit cells as a cube: there are atoms at the centers of each of the cube’s faces and also at each of the eight corners of the cube. This sort of atomic arrangement is most likely to show up when the allow contains carbon, nitrogen, manganese or nickel. 

Ferritic stainless steels, by contrast, are arranged in what is known as a body-centered (bcc) lattice. Atoms are arranged at each of the eight corners of the cube. Another single atom is located in the center of the cube. Silicon, chromium and molybdenum make a bcc crystal structure most likely. 

The least magnetic steels

Stainless steel type 304, which contains 8% nickel and 18% chromium, along with small amounts of carbon, nitrogen and manganese make this steel nonmagnetic. What is interesting is that, when this steel is mechanically deformed through activities like bending or extruding, it will become partially magnetic.

Stainless steel type 904L is another popular nonmagnetic option. This type of steel contains high amounts of nickel and molybedenum, along with small amounts of carbon, manganese and phosphorus. In addition to being nonmagnetic, this type of steel is highly resistant to crevice corrosion and stress corrosion cracking. It’s highly weldable and formable. 

Magnetized or Unmagnetized?

Ferritic steels typically start off unmagnetized. However, if they are exposed to a magnetic field, they will become magnetized. Even after being removed, they will remain magnetic to some degree. Nonmagnetic steels do not have this property, and can be exposed to magnetic fields without any risk that they will become magnetic after exposure. 

Matching your steel choice to the job is imperative for assuring the performance that you want. We offer a range of stainless steel grades and types to ensure that you always have the exact alloy you need. Not sure what is best for your application? Get in touch. Our experts bring years of experience to the field and can help you pick the right steel for your application and your budget. 

Characteristics of 904L stainless steel

904L stainless steel is a highly durable and highly versatile material. It’s valued for its high resistance to corrosion and heat as well as its level of weldability. It’s even the choice for stainless steel Rolex watches; the high end watchmaker made the switch from 304L to 904L when they discovered that the latter would offer a better level of resistance to corrosion and pitting and make even their watches a lifelong purchase even for active wearers.

What are 904L’s best qualities?

This type of stainless steel has a low carbon content. It is high in copper to add resistance to strong acids such as sulphuric acid. The presence of high amounts of nickel makes it resistant to stress corrosion cracking. It is also highly resistant to crevice corrosion and stress corrosion cracking that can plague other types of steel. It can be used in a range of challenging environments that include warm seawater and chloride exposure. It’s a good material for both mild and aggressive conditions. 

This type of stainless steel is highly resistant to heat up to 400 degrees Celcius. It is heat treatable at temperatures that range from 1090 to 1175 Celcius when followed by rapid cooling. This sort of thermal treatment is a good choice for hardening 904L steel. 

This type of steel is non-magnetic because of its make-up. It offers high levels of weldability, formability and toughness in a range of conditions.

904L steel can be welded using all conventional methods without a need for pre-heat and post-weld heat treatments. 

What is 904L used for?

As mentioned earlier, 904L steel is the stainless steel used in the construction of Rolex watches. In industrial settings, it is valued for its high purity and its low sulfur content. A few of the places 904L is used includes:

  • Seawater cooling devices.
  • Wiring in electrostatic filtration devices.
  • Oil refinery components.
  • Gas scrubbing plant parts.
  • Machinery for pulp and paper processing.
  • Parts in machines used in sulfuric, acetic and phosphoric acid processing plants. 

At Great Plains Stainless, we carry a wide range of stainless steel tubes, pipes, fittings and flanges for all of your consumer and industrial needs. Get in touch today to learn more about what we have available and the best materials for your next project.

Understanding Pipes’ Pressure and Temperature Ratings

Every pipe and pipe fitting you work with will be classified based on its pressure temperatures rating.  You will usually see this expressed through the ASME 16.5 P-T rating system. This will give pound ratings that are written like this: #100, #500, #1000, etc.

How P-T Is Determined

The pressure or pound rating for a pipe will be dependent on the material it is made of and the design temperature. Some grades of duplex stainless steel will have higher levels of some materials than others, which can affect their malleability and other features. A material’s pressure rating will also typically change at different temperatures. A material will typically be able to take more pressure at a lower temperature and less as the temperature goes up. Not every pipe component is rated by pressure class. The areas that are are ones like flanges, gaskets and socket welded components. The pressure rating is always the rating for the weakest part of a system. The goal in design is to make the weakest component of any system strong enough to easily hold up to the pressures and temperatures it will be exposed to.

Pipe Thickness and Pressure

The thickness of a pipe is also involved in the calculations when choosing materials. Pipe thickness can be calculated through either the flange rated method (which is also called the P/S ratio method) or the exact design conditions that are provided. The maximum pressure and temperature are calculated for the greatest thickness that is required. This is the thickness that is needed to stand up to the pressure and temperature of the system you are designing.

The flange rated method is considered the most conservative approach. It may provide more thickness than is required, but it is also more uniform. It will not lead to various thicknesses throughout the project, which means that the materials will be easier to procure. You will also be secure that every component has the strength and resistance that is needed for the application at hand.

Choosing Your Materials

Not sure what grade you need for the job? We carry all of the following and more:

  • 310 Stainless steel
  • 309 Stainless steel
  • 410 Stainless steel
  • 317 Stainless steel
  • 321 Stainless steel
  • 446 Stainless steel
  • 904L Stainless steel
  • 2205 Stainless steel
  • S31803 Stainless steel
  • N08904 Stainless steel

We can help you determine which grade offers both the best value for your money and the qualities that you need for your application. Send us a note through the on-site chat or give us a call to learn more.

Why Duplex Stainless Steels Are Stronger Than Regular Austenitic or Ferritic Stainless Steels.

If you are looking for a highly durable material that can work in a number of applications, duplex stainless steel is frequently the right material for the job. This steel’s makeup makes it one of the better choices for applications where your steel will undergo exposure to corrosives and other types of stress.

What is duplex stainless steel?

Duplex stainless steel gets its name from its two-phase microstructure. This microstructure contains grains of both austenitic and ferritic stainless steel. When duplex is heated, it takes on a completely ferritic structure. The structures form when the steel is cooled again; about half of the ferritic grains will turn into austenitic grains, creating a mixture that is roughly half austenite and half ferrite. The result is a steel that is tougher than either of these alone.

Characteristics of duplex

That combination of austenitic and ferritic in duplex’s structure gives the material a number of highly attractive properties. These include:

  • High resistance to corrosion. Like austenitic stainless steels, depending on their composition, duplex stainless steel grades offer a wide range of corrosion resistance. Those with good nitrogen, molybdenum and chromium content are highly resistant to both crevice corrosion and chloride pitting.
  • High strength. On average, duplex stainless steel is about twice as strong as either ferritic or austenitic stainless steels.
  • High toughness and ductility. Duplex stainless steel can be more easily formed under pressure than ferritic grades and also have superior toughness. While they do not have the same values as austenitic grades, duplex’s other qualities can often make up for that.
  • Cost effectiveness. Duplex stainless steel can offer the same sort of corrosion resistance that austenitic can while using lower levels of nickel and molybdenum. Additionally, stainless steel parts can often be thinner than austenitic while offering the same strength. Together, this allows for lower costs when using duplex than when using other types of steel.

For years, Great Plains Stainless Steel has taken pride in our ability to make your stainless steel purchases painless. We can advise you on the best material for your project to allow you to get the qualities you need at an affordable price. With offices around the world, we can help you regardless of where you project is located. Not sure what to use for your next stainless steel project? Get in touch. We can discuss your options and help you choose the right one for you.

How Stainless Steel Offers Environmental Sustainability

How Stainless Steel Offers Environmental Sustainability

More and more consumers, builders and industry professionals are putting a high premium on environmentally friendly and sustainable materials. Stainless steel can play an important role in the sustainability of your structures and systems.

Highly Recyclable

Stainless steel is one of the planet’s most easily recycled materials. The 300 series stainless steel materials may have, on average, around 75 to 80% recycled content.

The end of life (EOL) recapture rate of stainless steel is one of the highest of all construction materials. Many materials are either burned or sent to a landfill after use. This takes up valuable space, adds pollution and requires the use of new materials. Stainless steel can be easily recycled after use, reducing the need for new materials to be mined and keeping materials out of the waste stream.

Highly Durable

Stainless steel can last years longer than other materials. 410 stainless steel, which is a commonly used general purpose stainless steel, is desirable because of its high resistance to corrosion. This characteristic doesn’t just save you money over time; it also significantly increases the time that is needed before replacement.

A Strong Role in Resource Conservation

Because of its strength and malleability, stainless steel plays a very important role in alternative energy projects that include wave generation, solar, geothermal and biomass power production. Stainless steel is integral to the construction of items like air scrubbers that reduce conventional power plants’ release of dangerous pollutants into the environment.

Stainless steel is an ideal material for containers transporting potable water. This material reduces loss through evaporation, making resources go farther.

Steel is also an ideal material for both public and private waste water treatment facilities. These facilities reduce the chances of water pollution and keep water resources safe.

When your customers want to know what you are doing to help protect our environment and our future, you can answer with confidence that your use of high quality stainless steel can help. Want to learn more? Our expert staff has years of experience and knowledge about stainless steel. If you are looking for the ideal material for your next industrial project, get in touch. We will be happy to guide you to the right stainless steel grade and to explain the benefits of your choice.

Great Plains Stainless eQuote online bidding system

Great Plains Stainless eQuote

online bidding now available

Online price and availability for thousands of stock items in the USA, Chile, China, India, and around the world available anytime at Great Plains Stainless eQuote.

An easy search system using popup menus allows users to see inventories in stainless steels and titanium, in pipe, fittings, flanges, plate, bar, wire, and weld wire.

Alloys currently available: 304L, 304H, 309, 310, 316L, 317L, 321H, 347H, 410, 446, 904L, S31803, S32750, and Titanium gr 2.

Great Plains Stainless President, Joe Gibbons, says, “In the coming months a number of innovations are planned that are revolutionary.”  Mr. Gibbons went on to say,  “We asked a dozen customers to help us do pre-beta testing of the system, and we are very pleasantly surprised by how many orders that process generated”.

A beta version of Great Plains Stainless eQuote is now available for customers outside of North America.  Contact your GPS sales representative or go to www.gpss.com/equote to create an account.

Characteristics of 904L stainless steel

904L stainless steel is a highly durable and highly versatile material. It’s valued for its high resistance to corrosion and heat as well as its level of weldability. It’s even the choice for stainless steel Rolex watches; the high end watchmaker made the switch from 304L to 904L when they discovered that the latter would offer a better level of resistance to corrosion and pitting and make even their watches a lifelong purchase even for active wearers.

What are 904L’s best qualities?

This type of stainless steel has a low carbon content. It is high in copper to add resistance to strong acids such as sulphuric acid. The presence of high amounts of nickel makes it resistant to stress corrosion cracking. It is also highly resistant to crevice corrosion and stress corrosion cracking that can plague other types of steel. It can be used in a range of challenging environments that include warm seawater and chloride exposure. It’s a good material for both mild and aggressive conditions. 

This type of stainless steel is highly resistant to heat up to 400 degrees Celcius. It is heat treatable at temperatures that range from 1090 to 1175 Celcius when followed by rapid cooling. This sort of thermal treatment is a good choice for hardening 904L steel. 

This type of steel is non-magnetic because of its make-up. It offers high levels of weldability, formability and toughness in a range of conditions.

904L steel can be welded using all conventional methods without a need for pre-heat and post-weld heat treatments. 

What is 904L used for?

As mentioned earlier, 904L steel is the stainless steel used in the construction of Rolex watches. In industrial settings, it is valued for its high purity and its low sulfur content. A few of the places 904L is used includes:

  • Seawater cooling devices.
  • Wiring in electrostatic filtration devices.
  • Oil refinery components.
  • Gas scrubbing plant parts.
  • Machinery for pulp and paper processing.
  • Parts in machines used in sulfuric, acetic and phosphoric acid processing plants. 

At Great Plains Stainless, we carry a wide range of stainless steel tubes, pipes, fittings and flanges for all of your consumer and industrial needs. Get in touch today to learn more about what we have available and the best materials for your next project.

What are ASTM standards?

Without consistent standards, you can never be sure that the duplex stainless steel you bought from one manufacturer is the same as what you buy from a new one for another project. To ensure safety and consistency, ASTM International has established voluntary standards that are used throughout the world.

About the ASTM

ASTM was first founded in 1898 as the American Section of the International Association for Testing Materials. The group’s original purpose was to address railroad safety. Rails would often break due to a lack of standardized performance; the scientists and engineers created minimum standards for fabricating rails. The group has gone through some name changes during its life; it became the American Society for Testing and Materials before finally being renamed ASTM International in 2001. They have offices in Washington, D.C, Belgium, China, Canada and Mexico.

Membership in the ASTM is open to anyone with an interest in its activities. There are over 30,000 members in the organization from 140 countries. They include material users, producers and consumers. 

Complying to ASTM Standards

At this time, there are over 13,000 ASTM Standards. Some set standards for materials such as carbon steel, zinc coatings and other materials. Others, like F 963 set standards for toy safety.

While ASTM Standards are voluntary, they have been adopted into a number of federal, state and municipal regulations in the US. Under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995, the federal government is required to use privately developed consensus standards wherever they can. Other governments throughout the world have referenced ASTM standards in their regulations.

Are There Other Similar Authorities?

A number of other organizations set standards for safety and consistency, as well. ISO (the International Organizations for Standardization) was formed in 1947 and promotes standards for industrial and commercial applications. You will frequently see ISO grades listed for steel. SAE International maintains an alloy numbering system that includes the SAE steel grades system. In the past, steel grades were also standardized by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) which turned over the maintenance of their grading system to SAE back in 1995. While many standards are international, there are also a number that are specific to one country, such as France’s AFNOR.

Materials from Great Plains Stainless all meet ASTM standards. This helps you ensure that the products that you create are compliant and safe. Have a question about a material, such as duplex stainless steel? Get in touch and our skilled staff can help.