An Overview: Choosing the Right Grade of Stainless Steel for Your Project

As most stainless steel fabricators in Perth will tell you, the grade of stainless steel you choose can make or break your project. Without becoming overly technical, here is a quick guide to choosing the correct grade of stainless steel for your project.

Choosing the Right Grade of Stainless Steel

The Benefits of Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is very resistant to corrosion due to the fact that it is made of at least 12% chromium. This reacts with oxygen to produce a thin oxide layer that makes it impossible for it to rust. It also makes it easy to clean and keep sanitary. This corrosion resistant film makes stainless steel indispensable to the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries.

Stainless steel is able to be easily formed and processed into many different shapes for many different applications. It can be processed into wire, seamless tubing, plates, bars, sheets and strips. Stainless steel is available in many different types and grades. Here are the three main types.


Austenitic stainless steel can be in the 300 series, which consists of steel with chromium and nickel, or the 200 series, which consists of steel with chromium and manganese. Austenitic stainless steels are the most popular and contain at least 16% chromium. They have a maximum of 0.15% carbon. The addition of nickel and manganese helps them keep their austenitic structure at any temperature up to their melting point.

Some common applications are electrical enclosures, cooking utensils and building construction.


Martensitic stainless steels contain between 12% and 14% chromium with nickel, molybdenum and carbon. They don’t provide the corrosion resistance that austenitic stainless steels do, but they are tough, machinable and can be made very hard by heat treatment. Due to this hardness, they are used for cutlery, food processing blades, valves, shafts and fasteners.

Duplex stainless steels combine austenitic stainless steel with ferritic stainless steel. They contain 19-28% chromium with molybdenum, nickel and small, variable amounts of other elements.

They are widely used in the petrochemical, chemical, marine, paper and pulp industries.

To learn more, call Western Stainless Solutions today: 1300 794 647.