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The History of Duplex Stainless Steel

by Mar 10, 2018News

Duplex stainless steel is an alloy which makes use of both austenitic and ferritic steels. Combining these two steels, it’s able to be affordable, strong, and resistant to corrosion.

However, this alloy hasn’t always been what it is now. First conceived in the early 20th century, it has undergone a great deal of evolution. 

Here is the history of duplex stainless steel.

Early 20th Century

Duplex stainless steel saw its conception in the early 1930s. This early version of the alloy wasn’t a patch on the versions we see today, but it did see a few different uses, nonetheless.

While this model of duplex combined strength and corrosion resistance that was greater than either ferritic or austenitic steel alone, it was fairly limited as to what it could do.

The fact of the matter is that the technology was just not there yet. Engineers struggled to create the right balance of austenitic and ferritic steel. It would be years before any major advancements were made in the development of duplex stainless steel.

Mid 20th Century

It wasn’t until the mid 20th century that further developments were seen in duplex stainless steels. In the 1960s, innovations such as decarburization made it possible to produce steel with low levels of carbon. These innovations also made it possible to add high levels of nickel and chromium to the steel.

It was at this point that modern-grade duplex was created. This duplex was not only strong, but resistant to stress corrosion cracking.

Though its use did not skyrocket immediately, it began to be utilized after a nickel shortage forced up the cost of austenitic steel. In essence, by the mid 20th century, duplex stainless steel became a respected and popularly-used material.

Today’s most common grade of duplex stainless steel, duplex 2205, was developed during this period. Designed in Germany, it was unique in its extreme strength and resistance to corrosion.

Late 20th Century

In the late 20th century, starting in the 1980s, super and hyper duplex saw their birth. These forms of duplex stainless steel were even stronger than duplex 2205, and more resistant to corrosion as well.

This type of steel began to see popularity in the oil industry. Because super and hyper duplex are so resistant to corrosion, they can be used deep in the ocean. This made them terrific steels for offshore drilling practices.

The only downside to these types of duplexes is that they were, and still are, fairly costly. This has, and still does limit their usage to an extent.

Duplex Today

While duplex stainless steel makes up only a small portion of the modern stainless steel market, it’s very effective for its purposes. This steel is used to make everything from pipes, to forgings, to weld fittings, and more.

Though the current versions of duplex stainless steel are of very high quality, engineers continue to push the steel forward technologically. Advancements are being made slowly, but surely.

As more advancements are made, more and more industries should be able to reap the benefits of duplex stainless steel. Its strength and corrosion-resistance at such an affordable price make it a very valuable material.

Looking to Take Advantage of Duplex Stainless Steel?

Do you have a need for duplex stainless steel? Are you looking to buy duplex products from a reputable seller? If so, we here at Great Plains Stainless are the people to see.

We sell duplex stainless steel products of all kinds, from bars, to tubes, to forgings, to pipes, and more. Whether you need S31803 or S32205, we can and will accommodate you.

Contact us today to discuss your needs!