What types of stainless steel are there?

There are several different types of stainless steel as categorised by their internal microstructure, including Austenitic, Ferritic, Martensitic and Duplex. Duplex, Super Duplex and Hyper Duplex are all a combination of austenitic and ferritic microstructures, approximately 50:50. The microstructure is the crystallographic structure of a metal at a microscopic level, and will usually define the generic properties.

Martensitic stainless steels also referred to as precipitation-hardened PH grades offer very high strength levels, although formability and toughness are compromised.

The more standard grades, which make up the majority of the market are Austenitic i.e. 304/316 (3xx series) and Ferritic i.e. 410/420/430 (4xx series).

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