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Stainless Steels are broadly defined as Iron alloys containing from 12 to 30% Chromium and from 0 to 20% Nickel. This analysis is further modified by additions of Carbon and other minor elements which contribute specific effects either to control mechanical properties or to improve corrosion resistance. The corrosion resistance of Stainless Steels is attributed to a surface phenomenon, passivity. When oxygen comes in contact with the surface it forms an invisible film which protects the underlying metal from rusting and corrosion under severe environment. The family of Stainless Steels is divided into three general classifications: “Austenitic” Stainless Steels make up the general group of the 18-8 (or 300) series. They are the Chromium-Nickel type containing upwards of 8% Nickel. They are not hardenable by heat treatment, non-magnetic for practical purposes and offer the greatest degree of corrosion resistance. ”Martensitic” Stainless Steels contain from 12 to 20% Chromium. They are magnetic and hardenable. Type 410 and 416, common fastening alloys, are Martensitic Stainless Steels. “Ferritic” alloys are also Chromium Stainless Steel alloys. They are magnetic and not hardenable by heat treatment. Type 430 is an example. There are almost as many uses for Stainless Steel fastenings as there are problems of corrosion, temperature and strength. Because of its high tensile strength, corrosion resistant qualities and ability to attain a mirror-like finish it is one of the most versatile of all metals. Applications include its use in the petroleum, chemical, food, plumbing, transportation and oil equipment industries to mention just a few.
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