All stainless steels could be used at low temperatures. However, the actual requirement of a given application will decide which grade is most appropriate. For example, your application may require a specific grade of stainless steel that has a particular strength at a specifically low temperature.
The mechanical properties of stainless steel may change at lower temperatures. For ferritic, duplex and martensitic grades, their toughness will drop significantly at a certain temperature – which is known as a ‘transition temperature.’ Below this ‘transition temperature’, these grades of stainless steel no longer ductile fracture upon impact. Instead, they brittle fracture.
In this context, toughness is defined as the ability of a material to absorb energy in an impact; as a result, 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 on the specific requirement.
Langley Alloys manufactures a wide variety of steel grades – from stainless steels to duplex and super duplex stainless steels. If you have any questions regarding the use of stainless steel at low temperatures, please contact us today.