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Choosing Stainless Steel Sheet

Stainless steels are iron-based alloys containing at least 10.5% chromium which forms a protective oxide film for corrosion resistance. This oxide film provides the stainless-ness of stainless steel. Stainless steel sheet is typically manufactured in roll or plate form depending on thickness, or gauge.

Stainless steel sheet is produced by rolling the material through a mill, creating a thinner and longer outcome. Thickness is gradually reduced through this process and the stainless steel product is wound into a coil at the end of the production line or cut into plates. Stainless steel coil can then be cold rolled in cold rolling mills. The coils can be heat treated in a furnace to further soften the material for cold rolling or to produce the mechanical properties desired.

For some stainless steel sheet products cold rolling is the last step in the process. However, other fabrications of stainless steel sheet, like stainless steel foil tape, require more processing. In this case, they undergo further elevated temperature processing in order to increase their strength.

Learn more about All Foils assortment of stainless steel foil, sheeting and tape.

Types of Stainless Steel Alloys

Choosing the right stainless steel alloy for your application is an important step. There are a variety of stainless steel alloys available, and selecting one means considering a variety details such as application, density, tensile strength, workability, acid-resistance and more. Luckily, the experts at All Foils have been helping partners determine the ideal types of metal alloys for their unique applications for decades.

All Foils maintains an inventory of stainless steel alloys in the 300-grade-range including 302, 304, 309, 316, 321 and 347. These excellent choices for sheeting and rolling have been relied upon for some of the greatest feats of modern engineering as well as every-day applications. The pinnacle of the Chrysler Building is clad with a form of 302 stainless steel. 316 stainless steel encases the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, the world’s tallest buildings from 1998-2004.

302 Stainless Steel

302 Stainless Steel is corrosion resistant, making it perfect for applications like heat exchangers, tanks, and other process equipment. In addition, this alloy is commonly used in small quantities for food and beverage, cryogenic, and pressure-containing applications.

304 Stainless Steel

This alloy is the most commonly used type of stainless steel sheet. That’s because it’s weldable, machineable and has good corrosion resistance. Some common applications of 304 stainless steel sheeting include food processing equipment, heat exchangers, springs, chemical containers, and more. Can be used in temperatures up to 1800°F.

309 Stainless Steel

309 stainless steel sheet is known for good strength, oxidation resistance, and excellent heat resistance. This alloy is commonly used in heating elements, heat exchangers, furnace parts, and more. Can be used in temperatures up to 2240°F.

316 Stainless Steel

This alloy has excellent forming and welding characteristics, and is durable. Common applications of 316 stainless steel sheet includes heat exchangers, chemical containers, food preparation equipment, and more.

321 Stainless Steel

321 stainless steel sheet is similar to 304 stainless steel, but is somewhat easier to machine. Some typical applications include chemical processing equipment, welded equipment, and more. Can be used in temperatures up to 2000°F.

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