There are over 100 stainless steel alloys, each of which provides something unique in terms of functionality and characteristics. To keep these alloys in order, metallurgists have separated them into 5 major classes: ferritic, austenitic, martensitic, duplex, and precipitation-hardening.
In this article, we’re going to focus on the ferritic stainless steels, like 410 and 446 in particular. Not only will we discuss their consistency, but their characteristics and uses as well. Let’s begin!
What is the General Consistency of Ferritic Stainless Steels?
Possessing body-centered cubic grain structures, ferritic stainless steels must consist of between 10.5% and 27% chromium. With low nickel content, they are generally less expensive than austenitic stainless steels.
Additional metals that you might find in a ferritic alloy include aluminum, molybdenum, and titanium, to name a few. These metals are added in order to provide alloys with varying levels of functional capabilities, including weldability, corrosion resistance, and more.
Characteristics of Ferritic Stainless Steel
While all ferritic stainless steels differ from each other slightly, they have the same general characteristics. When you buy a ferritic stainless steel, you’re buying something that’s:
When it comes to stainless steel, the ingredient that typically drives up prices is nickel. Because ferritic stainless steel contains only scarce amounts of nickel, it is generally very affordable. Comparatively speaking, it is less expensive than both austenitic and duplex stainless steel.
Some stainless steels are magnetic. Others aren’t. Ferritic stainless steels fall on the side of magnetism. While they don’t provide the level of magnetism found in some other stainless steel classes (martensitic stainless steels, in particular), they offer a terrific combination of magnetism and corrosion resistance.
Where ferritic stainless steels truly shine is in their corrosion resistance. These stainless steels are not only highly resistant to standard oxidation, they’re also highly resistant to high-temperature oxidation, chloride stress corrosion cracking, and crevice corrosion.
The exact consistency of a specific ferritic stainless steel will affect its particular corrosion resistance capabilities. For instance, while ferritic stainless steels with added molybdenum are more resistant to pitting corrosion, ferritic stainless steels with added aluminum are more resistant to high-temperature oxidation.
You might be under the impression that all stainless steels are weldable. However, the fact of the matter is that some stainless steels are more suitable for welding than are others.
While ferritic stainless steel isn’t the most weldable stainless steel in the world, it does possess some level of weldability. Note, though, that only thin pieces of ferritic stainless steel are capable of being consistently put through the welding process.
Though it’s possible to weld thick ferritic stainless, the end result is often not the desired one. Therefore, when it comes to welding thick pieces of steel, ferritic stainless is generally avoided.
What is Ferritic Stainless Steel Used For?
Ferritic stainless steels are used for a number of applications. For instance, 410 might be used where high strength and moderate heat and corrosion resistance are required. 446 is useful when resistance to oxidation, sulfidation and other forms of hot corrosion might be needed.
In addition, several ferritic alloys are used for offshore drilling purposes, as they possess corrosion resistance sufficient enough to withstand the effects of saltwater.
Looking for Ferritic Stainless Steel Components?
If you’re reading this article, it might be because you’re on the search for stainless steel components. If so, you’re in the right place. Great Plains Stainless is one of the world’s premier providers of stainless steel bars, pipes, fittings, and more.
Whether you’re in need of ferritic stainless steels, like 410 or 446 or another class of steel, we can accommodate you. Our team looks forward to serving you.
Contact us now to discuss your stainless steel needs!