Are Stainless Steel Plates Really Durable and Rust Proof?

BY Rowena Taylor

Stainless Steel PlatesSo, you are thinking of using stainless steel plates for your metal nameplate needs. You may have heard of its many admirable qualities, such as being really tough and impervious to rust, which is probably why you are thinking of using it. Before you go and have metal nameplates made using this specific material, there are a few things that you need to know, and this whether or not this kind of a metal is indeed rust proof and highly durable.

To start off, let us first find out what stainless steel is composed of. This type of metal is an alloy that is made out of iron and chromium. The chromium content of this kind of an alloy has to be at a minimum of 10.5% in order for the resulting metal to be corrosive resistant and to be somewhat impervious to stains. Sometimes, nickel is added to the mix in order to increase its resistance to corrosion and to help increase heat resistance. Carbon is also added at times to the mix when the metal is required to be stronger and harder.

When you talk about stainless steel, you should also be aware that there is more than one type of stainless steel. This type of metal is classified according to grades, thicknesses, and finishes. Because of the abovementioned additions to make this metal more durable, less susceptible to rusting and harder, you will find that each type brings with it specific qualities that make them suitable for very specific uses.

This metal comes in a number of general types, namely the austenitic, martensitic and ferritic types. Stainless steel grades that are in the 200 and 300 series (such as 304, 316 and 317) belong to the austenitic category. Majority of the stainless steel that is produced actually belongs to this type. Ferritic stainless steel is used mainly for engineering purposes, and are somewhat less expensive than austenitic stainless steel but less resistant to corrosion. Martensitic stainless steel, on the other hand, is considered the least corrosion resistant of all three, but is considered the toughest and hardest type.

Some of the more common properties all stainless steel plates come with include the following:

Oxidation resistance – oxidation is the development of rust on the surface of metals, although in general, the definition for this term is “to react to the molecules of oxygen.” Stainless steel is resistant to oxidation due to the presence of chromium, which creates a protective layer when oxygen is present. In order for stainless steel to be impervious to rust, this needs to have at least 13% chromium in it.

Acid resistant – another quality most stainless steel grades have is acid resistance, although the level of resistance usually depends on the type of stainless steel you are using and the concentration of the acid it is being exposed to. For example, stainless steel plates that are type 304 can easily be called impervious to sulfuric acid, even in higher concentrations. Types 316 and 317 however can only resist low concentrations of this substance. On the flipside, 316 and 317 are more resistant to phosphoric acid than 304, and hydrochloric acid can damage all of these types and more.

When it comes to magnetism and conductivity, you should be aware that some stainless steel types may be magnetic and others not, however most are not good conductors of electricity. If you need your stainless steel plates to be magnetic, you should choose from the grades that belong to the ferritic and martensitic types. For non magnetic stainless steel, what you need to choose are grades that belong to the austenitic category.

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