What happens to austenitic stainless steel when it is deformed?

Austenitic stainless steels will work-harden when deformed, fabricated or drawn resulting in a significant increase in their yield strength and an associated drop in their elongation.

This cold work will convert a small part of the austenitic microstructure to martensitic, which has magnetic properties. Therefore, parts of an austenitic component may appear as magnetic, particularly on corners and edges where the level of deformation is higher. An example of this is in a stainless-steel sink where the flat drainer has little magnetic response whereas the pressed bowl has a higher response because of the formation of martensite (particularly in corners).

Sometimes austenitic stainless steels are used specifically for their ‘non-magnetic’ properties. More unusual examples of this are to be found in medical and sensing equipment, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) units, which require metals to possess a maximum magnetic permeability as low as 1.004.

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If you have any more questions regarding austenitic stainless steels, please get in touch with Langley Alloys today. Our expert team are on hand to answer any questions that you may have and can recommend austenitic stainless steels to suit your application.

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