4 Types of Stainless Steel

The term 'stainless steel' can be used to refer to a range of different iron-based alloys: any such alloy containing a minimum of 10.5% chromium can be considered a stainless steel. Varying this amount, as well as adding other materials including molybdenum, nickel, carbon and manganese, results in different types of stainless steel to suit different applications.


Stainless steel is generally divided into four distinct groups:

  1. Austenitic. The austenitic group comprises the most common types of stainless steel. Austenitic stainless steels, in comparison with other types, contain elevated levels of chromium, molybdenum and nickel. They are particularly versatile and are renowned for displaying excellent strength and malleability.
  2. Ferritic. Containing anywhere between 10.5% and 30% chromium, ferritic stainless steels usually have low carbon consistencies of not more than 0.1%. Ferritic stainless steels are magnetic and are primarily chosen for their resistance to temperature oxidation and stress corrosion cracking.
  3. Duplex. Duplex stainless steel combines the austenitic with the ferritic, resulting in a metal that is stronger than both: this higher strength can lead to considerable weight reductions. Its excellent resistance to corrosion, even in demanding environments, make it perfect for use in marine applications.
  4. Martensitic. Structurally similar to ferritic stainless steel but with an elevated carbon content (up to 1.2%), martensitic stainless steel can be hardened to a large degree. They are especially useful for creating medical tools and surgical instruments. 

At BS Stainless, we employ a cherry-picked team of technical experts who are able to give clear, authoritative advice on choosing the most suitable type of stainless steel for any given application. Contact the team today and, to receive more articles like this, please subscribe to the BS Stainless newsletter. We also invite you to follow us on social media ( facebooktwitter and linkedin).

Posted in Product news on