Stainless Steel EDM
Stainless steel is a type of alloy steel that resists rust and other forms of corrosion and has an attractive appearance. Stainless steel is an alloy of iron with a minimum of 10.5% chromium. Chromium produces a thin layer of oxide on the surface of the steel known as the 'passive layer'. This prevents any further corrosion of the surface. Increasing the amount of chromium gives an increased resistance to corrosion. This unique stainless steel property allows this type of steel to resist stains and corrosion.
Self-Healing Stainless Steel Properties
One of the most unique stainless steel properties is its ability to heal itself. The chromium content allows for the formation of an invisible chromium oxide film on the surface of the steel. If the damaged stainless steel is exposed to oxygen – even in small amounts – it will become self-healing, even with mechanical and chemical damage.
Stainless Steel EDM Advantages
There are many benefits of using custom stainless steel parts. One of the primary advantages of using stainless steel EDM material is its significant strength-to-weight advantages over other materials. Custom stainless steel parts are also highly resistant to stains and corrosion. Other benefits of stainless steel properties, include:
- High & low temperature resistance
- Ease of fabrication
- Aesthetic appeal
- Hygienic properties
- Life cycle characteristics
In addition, the lack of need for a finish reduces delivery time of stainless parts, which ultimately can end up saving valuable time and money. The only real disadvantage related to stainless steel machining is the cost associated with the hardness of stainless steel. However, this slight disadvantage is most often overshadowed by the overwhelming benefits of the material.
EDM Stainless Steel Types
There are five overall categories that custom stainless steel parts fall within. They include the following.
Ferritic Stainless Steel
This type of stainless steel EDM is magnetic with a lower ductility and lower corrosion resistance than the austenitic grades. But, they offer high resistance to stress corrosion cracking. They are hardened by cold working and are not heat treatable. Some of the popular grades, include:
Typical applications for these ferritic high precision stainless steel parts include: heat exchangers, automotive fasteners, furnace parts, heater parts.
Austenitic Stainless Steel
This type of stainless steel EDM is nonmagnetic and has high corrosion resistance. It can be hardened only by cold working – not by heat treatment. It is also highly formable but is prone to stress corrosion cracking. There are three subtypes: straight, L and H. Popular grades, include:
- 201 & 202
- 301 thru 305
- 308 thru 310
- 316 & 317
- 347 & 348
Austenitic stainless steels are used in shafts, valves, bolts, bushings, nuts, aircraft fittings, chemical equipment, food processing equipment and more.
Martensitic Stainless Steel
This type of stainless steel EDM is magnetic and has a higher strength, higher wear resistance and higher fatigue resistance than the austenitic and ferritic grades. They can also be heat treated. But, corrosion resistance is moderate and lower than the austenitic and ferritic grades. They are highly machinable. Some of the popular grades, include:
Precipitation Hardening Grade Stainless Steels
Also referred to as PH stainless steel its corrosion resistance is equivalent to that of austenitic grades and strength is generally higher than that of martensitic grades. They also retain high strength at elevated temperatures. They are heat treatable and are mainly used in aerospace industry for aerospace structural components. Popular grades, include:
Duplex Stainless Steels
This type of stainless steel EDM is a mixture of austenitic and ferritic steels. They provide higher corrosion resistance than the austenitic stainless steels and are also more resistant to stress corrosion cracking than the austenitic stainless steels. They have higher strength than the austenitic grades. Popular duplex grades, include:
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