An Introduction to Stainless Steel Sheet

Posted on Apr 26, 2021

Stainless Steel Sheet

Stainless steel sheets and plates are similar products that are distinct from thickness as well as durability. The versatile stainless steel sheet is thinner than the plates, which are generally thinner than 6 mm. It makes stainless steel sheets great solutions for lightweight residential and architectural applications.

Features of Stainless Steel Sheet

A stainless steel sheet is an ideal solution for applications requiring a durable metal with anti-oxidation properties. The stainless steel sheet product, as well as stainless steel plates, are popular for numerous industries since they do not stain, corrode and rust as easily as other metals, on top of that, they provide great strength and impact resistance with an aesthetic appearance. Also, stainless steel sheets also have anti-bacterial features, making them easy to clean and sanitize and therefore popular for food processing and conveyor applications. 

Stainless steel is iron-based alloy metal containing more than 11% of chromium, which can keep the iron from rusting and resist high heat. Stainless steel comes in a wide variety, stainless steel sheets made from various stainless steel series can be significantly different from each other in the chromium content, strength, machinability, and other characteristics as well as the price. A large variety of stainless steel sheets may include carbon content ranging from 0.03% to more than 1%, nitrogen, aluminum, nickel, copper, silicon, titanium, and many more. 

Thanks to the presence of chromium in the stainless steel sheets which results in the resistance to rust, the passive film can protect the underlying content from corrosion and self-healing when facing oxygen. To further enhance the ability of corrosion resistance of stainless steel sheets, there are some methods including increasing the content level of chromium to more than 11% or adding greater amounts of nickel or molybdenum which also enhance the resistance to pitting corrosion.
 

Applications of Stainless Steel Plates and Sheets

Stainless steel sheets and plates are similar products that are distinct from thickness as well as durability. The versatile stainless steel sheet is thinner than the plates, which are generally thinner than 6 mm. It makes stainless steel sheets great solutions for lightweight residential and architectural applications. As for the stainless steel plates, they typically have a thickness of more than 6 mm, offering the tensile strength and durability required for tanks and some heavy-duty industrial applications. 

Providing simple maintenance, excellent corrosion resistance quality, both the stainless steel sheet and the stainless steel plate can be best suited for applications including food processing, heat exchanging, electrical enclosure, chemical process vessels, conveyor system, marine parts, and other uses in the architectural and construction industry.
 

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304 and 316 Stainless Steel Sheet

304 and 326 stainless steel sheets are the two most widely used stainless steel sheet types. The 300 series of stainless steel is one kind of austenitic stainless steel, which is the largest stainless steel family, making up approximately two-thirds of the stainless steel industrial production. They have an austenitic, cubic crystal microstructure. The austenitic stainless steel family can be subdivided into two sub-series, which are the 200 series and 300 series. The 200 series stainless steel is chromium alloys that maximize the levels of manganese and nitrogen while minimizing the content level of nickel. The 200 series have about 50% higher yield strength than the 300 series grade. 

The 300 series including 304 stainless steel and 316 stainless steel are chromium-nickel alloys that have higher levels of nickels. 304 stainless steel and 316 stainless steel both offer ideal durability and corrosion resistance quality for indoor and outdoor use. Before selecting from the two, there are some slight differences that you should know. Regarding the comparison of the two alloy grades, 304 stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel; on the other hand, 316 stainless steel contains 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% molybdenum. The molybdenum present in the 316 stainless steel sheets can help resist corrosion to chlorides such as seawater and other substances containing salts.
 

304 Stainless Steel

Grade 304 has greater chromium content, providing ideal corrosion resistance in normal use. The stainless steel sheets made from 304 grade are also non-magnetic. Regarding the metalwork tasks, the 304 stainless steel sheets have great formability, making them the most versatile and popular option for a wide range of light-duty applications like metal fabricating and other machining work. The ease of cleaning and the ability to keep the product from contamination are also advantageous for applications requiring a high level of cleanliness.
 

316 Stainless Steel

When it comes to the 316 grade which has a higher content level of nickel and the addition of molybdenum, the corrosion resistance particularly against chlorides and chlorinated substances is upgraded. On top of that, 316 stainless steel sheets provide superior heat resistance compared to other chromium-nickel steels. The feature allows the 316 stainless steel sheet or plates best suited for medical use, marine environment, chemical process, and many more extreme corrosive applications. Also, using grade 316 stainless steel sheets instead of 304 outdoors is more advantageous. Grade 316 is also durable and suitable for metal fabrications, welding, and finishing tasks. The presence of molybdenum is needed in the production of certain pharmaceuticals to prevent excessive metallic contamination. One disadvantage of 316-grade stainless steel sheets is that they are relatively costly, however, the user can save the cost significantly due to the ease of maintenance and sanitization and the great durability of the stainless steel.

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