​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​How to choose the right grade

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Selecting the right stainless steel grade for a specific application is vitally important in order to achieve a sustainable solution, while cost aspects must also be taken into consideration. There are several stages when material selection needs to be made:

  • New applications and equipment
  • New processes and process changes
  • Exchange of material due to poor performance
  • Exchange of existing material to minimize cost

To make the right material selection it is important to get a full picture of the service conditions the steel will face. The first aspects to consider could be material related, for example:

  • Corrosion resistance
  • Mechanical strength
  • Fabricability
  • Physical properties
  • Surface aspects

Other factors that may influence the decision include:

  • Possibilities for weight reduction
  • Availability
  • Cost
  • Life Cycle Cost (LCC)
  • Recyclability
  • Legislation, standards, and approvals
  • Previous experience

  

Corrosion resistance

Corrosion engineering uses corrosion data from the environment in which the material is to be exposed. Field testing in, or laboratory testing to simulate, the environment is often required in order to identify which grades would be most suitable.

 

Strength and fabricability

Designing load-bearing structural applications, such as bridges, pressure vessels, and structural automotive components, is mostly done by applying the mechanical strength data provided in national and international standards and design codes. Fabricability, of special grades in particular, is crucial for material selection.

 

High temperatures

Equipment to be used at elevated temperatures (>550 °C) is designed using creep and oxidation data, and previous experience is important when selecting material. In many applications the material is consumed after a period of time.

 

More help with choosing the right grade

To help you with material selection, Outokumpu provides material data sheets and segment and application brochures, as well as the Outokumpu Corrosion Handbook and Outokumpu Welding Handbook.

Many of these can be downloaded from the Stainless Steel F​inder, where you will also find some other useful tools, such as corrosion tables​, storage tank calculation tool, and a ​ pressure vessel calculation tool.

Our R&D departments also offer technical support and assistance via the sales offices. For such support it is necessary to provide detailed information regarding service conditions and other aspects that needs to be considered.

 

Related articles at #choosestainless

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 Glossary

Life Cycle Cost
The life cycle cost is the total cost of an application during its entire life, including material cost, fabrication cost, operating and maintenance cost, as well as the value of the material when scrapped.

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