Stainless steels are distinguished from othersteels by a minimum chromium content of10.5%, which makes them more resistant tocorrosive aqueous environments and tooxidation. Although there are exceptions,stainless steel castings are classified as"corrosion resistant" when used in aqueousenvironments and vapors below 1200°F (650°C)and "heat resistant" when used above thistemperature.The usual distinction between the heat andcorrosion resistant casting grades is carboncontent. For a stainless steel casting to performwell in a corrosive environment, the carboncontent must be low. Heat resistant grades havehigher carbon contents to improve elevatedtemperature strength.The chemical composition and microstructuredifferences between the wrought and castversions of stainless steels can affectperformance. (See Role of Alloying Elements.)Some stainless steel casting grades can beprecipitation hardened by heat treatment, butthe mechanical properties of most rely on theirchemical composition. The yield and tensilestrengths of castings are comparable to theirwrought equivalents.Cast stainless steels generally have equivalentcorrosion resistance to their wrought equivalents,but they can become less corrosion resistant dueto localized contamination, microsegregation, orlack of homogeneity. For example, mold qualitymay cause superficial compositional changesthat influence performance, and carbon pick-upfrom mold release agents can affect corrosionresistance. Heat treatment and weld repairprocedures can influence the performance ofsome cast grades and should be taken intoconsideration during grade selection.Additional information about the characteristics,properties and applications of specific caststainless steel grades can be found in thefollowing corrosion and heat resistant sections.
Except for some of the high silicon andproprietary grades, cast nickel-base alloysgenerally have wrought approximateequivalents. Although the cast and wroughtversions of nickel-base alloys are commonlyused in combination because they providesimilar performance, there are some chemistrydifferences, primarily to improve castability andsoundness.Like stainless steels, nickel-base castings arecategorized as corrosion resistant if they areused in aqueous environments and vaporsbelow 1200°F (650°C) and heat resistant ifthey are capable of continuous or intermittentuse for sustained times above thistemperature. Carbon content is usually adistinguishing factor between the heat andcorrosion resistant alloys, but this dividing linecan be vague, particularly for alloys used in the900-1200°F (480 to 650°C) range.Additional information about thecharacteristics, properties and applications ofspecific cast nickel-base alloys can be found inthe following corrosion and heat resistant