Can stainless steel be used at low temperatures?

All stainless steels could be used at low temperatures, but the actual requirement of a given application will decide which grade is most appropriate i.e. strength required at a particular temperature.

The mechanical properties of stainless steels may change at lower temperatures. For ferritic, duplex and martensitic grades, their toughness will drop significantly at a certain temperature. Below this ‘transition temperature’, they no longer ductile fracture upon impact but brittle fracture. Toughness is the ability of a material to absorb energy in an impact, so tough materials are seen as more robust in service. Therefore, if higher levels of toughness at lower temperatures are a requirement of the application then austenitic stainless steels must be considered. Other stainless steel grades may be considered depending upon the specific requirement.

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