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Choosing Stainless Steel Sheet

Stainless steels are iron-based alloys containing at least 10.5% chromium which forms a protective oxide film for corrosion resistance. This oxide film provides the stainless-ness of stainless steel. Stainless steel sheet is typically manufactured in roll or plate form depending on thickness, or gauge.

Stainless steel sheet is produced by rolling the material through a mill, creating a thinner and longer outcome. Thickness is gradually reduced through this process and the stainless steel product is wound into a coil at the end of the production line or cut into plates. Stainless steel coil can then be cold rolled in cold rolling mills. The coils can be heat treated in a furnace to further soften the material for cold rolling or to produce the mechanical properties desired.

For some stainless steel sheet products cold rolling is the last step in the process. However, other fabrications of stainless steel sheet, like stainless steel foil tape, require more processing. In this case, they undergo further elevated temperature processing in order to increase their strength.

Learn more about All Foils assortment of stainless steel foil, sheeting and tape.

Types of Stainless Steel Alloys

Choosing the right stainless steel alloy for your application is an important step. There are a variety of stainless steel alloys available, and selecting one means considering a variety details such as application, density, tensile strength, workability, acid-resistance and more. Luckily, the experts at All Foils have been helping partners determine the ideal types of metal alloys for their unique applications for decades.

All Foils maintains an inventory of stainless steel alloys in the 300-grade-range including 302, 304, 309, 316, 321 and 347. These excellent choices for sheeting and rolling have been relied upon for some of the greatest feats of modern engineering as well as every-day applications. The pinnacle of the Chrysler Building is clad with a form of 302 stainless steel. 316 stainless steel encases the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, the world’s tallest buildings from 1998-2004.

302 Stainless Steel

302 Stainless Steel is corrosion resistant, making it perfect for applications like heat exchangers, tanks, and other process equipment. In addition, this alloy is commonly used in small quantities for food and beverage, cryogenic, and pressure-containing applications.

304 Stainless Steel

This alloy is the most commonly used type of stainless steel sheet. That’s because it’s weldable, machineable and has good corrosion resistance. Some common applications of 304 stainless steel sheeting include food processing equipment, heat exchangers, springs, chemical containers, and more. Can be used in temperatures up to 1800°F.

309 Stainless Steel

309 stainless steel sheet is known for good strength, oxidation resistance, and excellent heat resistance. This alloy is commonly used in heating elements, heat exchangers, furnace parts, and more. Can be used in temperatures up to 2240°F.

316 Stainless Steel

This alloy has excellent forming and welding characteristics, and is durable. Common applications of 316 stainless steel sheet includes heat exchangers, chemical containers, food preparation equipment, and more.

321 Stainless Steel

321 stainless steel sheet is similar to 304 stainless steel, but is somewhat easier to machine. Some typical applications include chemical processing equipment, welded equipment, and more. Can be used in temperatures up to 2000°F.

347 Stainless Steel

347 stainless steel sheet maintains good corrosion resistance in applications with high temperatures. These attributes make this alloy perfect for high temperature gaskets, chemical production equipment, aircraft equipment, and more.

Stainless Steel Pipe Types

Stainless steel is a versatile material comprised of a steel alloy and a small percentage of chromium — the addition of chromium adds to the material’s corrosion resistance, a trait that earned stainless steel its name. Because stainless steel is also low-maintenance, oxidation resistant, and doesn’t affect other metals it comes in contact with, it is frequently used in a large array of applications, especially in piping and tubing manufacturing. Based on the end use of the pipe, stainless steel piping is broken down into several categories.

Different Types of Steel Tubing and Stainless Steel Piping

Pipes and tubes are sometimes difficult to classify, and tend to be distinguished based on function. In addition to these classifications, stainless steel is also distinguished by type and grade.

304 Stainless Steel Pipe

For tubing and piping applications, type 304 stainless steel is a common selection because it is highly chemical- and corrosion-resistant. However, type 304 stainless steel is not compatible with applications where temperatures fall between 800 and 1640 degrees Fahrenheit (F) because it is prone to carbide precipitation, a result of the material’s .08 percent carbon content limit. Stainless steel type 304L circumvents this problem because it has a lower carbon content limit, and therefore can be subjected to welding and higher temperature applications. Other types of stainless steel often possess additives (such as nickel or molybdenum) which strengthen traits that are desirable in particular applications.

Stainless Steel Tubing for General Corrosion-Resistance

This general category of steel is appropriate for applications that require corrosion resistance above other traits. Ferritic or martensitic types of steel (those made with the most chromium) are manufactured to be either heat-treated or annealed. Austenitic Stainless steels (those with high chromium and nickel contents) offer even more resistance, and can be used under the same general conditions as ferritic and martensitic types.

Stainless Steel Pressure Pipe

This type of stainless steel pipe is made from either solid chromium or a chromium and nickel combination. Types of stainless steel pressure pipe include seamless and welded pipe, electric fusion welded pipe for high-pressure applications, large diameter welded pipe for corrosive or high-temperature applications, and seamless and welded ferritic and austenitic stainless steel pipe.

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