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Stainless steel

Stainless steel
In 1913, English metallurgist Harry Brearly,
accidentally discovered that adding chromium to
low carbon steel gives it stain resistance.
In addition to iron, carbon, and chromium, modern
stainless steel may also contain other elements,
such as nickel, niobium, molybdenum, and titanium.
Nickel, molybdenum, niobium, and chromium
enhance the corrosion resistance of stainless steel.
It is the addition of a minimum of 12% chromium to
the steel that makes it resist rust, or stain 'less' than
other types of steel

Stainless steel
The chromium in the steel combines with oxygen
in the atmosphere to form a thin, invisible layer of
chrome-containing oxide, called the passive film.
The sizes of chromium atoms and their oxides are
similar, so they pack together on the surface of
the metal, forming a stable layer only a few atoms
If the metal is cut or scratched and the passive
film is disrupted, more oxide will quickly form and
recover the exposed surface, protecting it from
oxidative corrosion.

Stainless steel
(Iron, on the other hand, rusts quickly because
atomic iron is much smaller than its oxide, so
the oxide forms a loose rather than tightlypacked layer and flakes away.)
The passive film requires oxygen to self-repair,
so stainless steels have poor corrosion
resistance in low-oxygen and poor circulation
In seawater, chlorides from the salt will attack
and destroy the passive film more quickly than
it can be repaired in a low oxygen environment.

Stainless steel
Types of Stainless Steel
The three main types of stainless
steels are:
ferritic, and
These three types of steels are
identified by their microstructure or
predominant crystal phase.

Above 13%Cr in Iron, this binary
alloys are ferritic over the whole
temperature range.
This ferrite is called delta ferrite ,
because it exist from the melting
point to room T.
0.04%C 18% Cr is fully ferritic.
This steel can not be transformed.

Ferritic steels have ferrite (body
centered cubic crystal) as their main
These steels contain iron and
chromium, based on the Type 430
composition of 17% chromium.
Ferritic steel is less ductile than
austenitic steel and is not hardenable
by heat treatment.

If a Ni is added to low carbon 18%Cr
steel Gama phase field expanded.
At about 8% Ni Gama phase field
exist at room temperature.
8% Ni is the minimum amount which
makes Gama stable at room

Austenitic steels have austenite as their primary phase
(face centered cubic crystal).
These are alloys containing chromium and nickel
(sometimes manganese and nitrogen), structured around
composition of iron, 18% chromium, and 8% nickel in
low carbon . Type 302
Austenitic steels are not hardenable by heat treatment.
The most familiar stainless steel is probably Type 304,
sometimes called T304 or simply 304. Type 304 surgical
stainless steel is an austenitic steel containing 18-20%
chromium and 8-10% nickel. l

Duplex stainless steel

Alpha forming element Mo,Ti, Nb, Si,
Gama forming elements Ni,Mn, C and
Duplex structure (Alpha+Gama) can
be produced by adding correct
balance of elements for Alpha and
Gama stablizer.

The characteristic orthorhombic martensite
microstructure was first observed by German
microscopist Adolf Martens around 1890.
Martensitic steels are low carbon steels built
around the Type 410 composition of iron,
12% chromium, and 0.12% carbon
They may be tempered and hardened.
Martensite gives steel great hardness, but it
also reduces its toughness and makes it
brittle, so few steels are fully hardened.

There are also other grades of

stainless steels, such as
precipitation-hardened, duplex, and
cast stainless steels.
Stainless steel can be produced in a
variety of finishes and textures and
can be tinted over a broad spectrum
of colors.


Austenite - FCC

Fe3C (cementite)- orthorhombic

Ferrite - BCC

Martensite - BCT

Equilibrium phases shown in phase

diagram form by slow cooling rates that
allow sufficient time for diffusion. E.g
ferrite, pearlite
Martensite is not shown in the equilibrium
phase diagram of the iron-carbon system
Whereas martensite is usually formed by
very high cooling rates.
Because it is not an equilibrium phase.

Martensite is formed in carbon steels by

the rapid cooling (quenching) of austenite
At such a high rate that carbon atoms do
not have time to diffuse out of the crystal
structure to form cementite (Fe3C).
As a result, the face centered cubic
austenite transforms to a highly strained
body centered cubic form of ferrite that is
supersaturated with carbon.(BCT)

Austenite that is cooled very rapidly can

form martensite.
Without any diffusion of either iron or
Due to the shear of the austenite's facecentered crystal structure into a distorted
body-centered tetragonal structure.
This non-equilibrium phase can only form
at low temperatures.

Maraging Steels

The term maraging is derived from the

strengthening mechanism, which is
transforming the alloy to martensite with
subsequent age hardening.
Carbon free iron-nickel alloys with additions
of cobalt, molybdenum, titanium and
The common, non-stainless grades contain
1719 wt.% nickel, 812 wt.% cobalt, 35 wt.
% molybdenum, and 0.21.6 wt.% titanium.

Air cooling the alloy to room temperature

from 820C creates a soft iron nickel
martensite, which contains molybdenum
and cobalt in supersaturated solid
Tempering at 480 to 500C results in
strong hardening due to the precipitation
of a number of intermetallic phases,
including, nickel-molybdenum, ironmolybdenum and iron-nickel varieties.
With yield strength between 1400 and
2400 MPa maraging steels belong to the
category of ultra-high-strength materials.
The high strength is combined with

Maraging steel's strength and malleability in
the pre-aged stage allows it to be formed
into thinner rocket and missile skins than
other steels, reducing weight for a given
Aerospace, e.g. undercarriage parts and
wing fittings,
Tooling & machinery , e.g. extrusion press
rams and mandrels in tube production, gears
Ordnance components and fasteners

Long products for the aircraft industry (Courtesy of Boehler

AG, Austria)

Maraging steel production, import,

and export by certain states, such as
the United States, is monitored.
It is particularly suited for use in gas
centrifuges for uranium enrichment
Lack of maraging steel significantly
hampers this process. Older
centrifuges used aluminum tubes;
modern ones, carbon fiber