Stainless steel tubing is made from a versatile material comprised of metal alloys such as steel and chromium. These tubes come with many desirable properties which contribute to their widespread application across numerous industrial sectors. However, these properties are found in different types and grades, meaning that you need to be careful when selecting stainless steel tubing for your application. Read on to find out the ideal properties you need to look for when buying stainless steel tubing.

Corrosion Resistance

While stainless steel is known for its corrosion-resistant properties, different grades offer diverse levels of resistance to corrosion. The best type is austenitic stainless steel tubing, as it consists of high amounts of chromium that make it extremely corrosion resistant. The best grades to choose are 304 and 316. If your application requires high hygienic standards, you should opt for austenitic stainless steel tubes in 304 or 316grade. These grades are also ideal for marine environments.

 Formability

Formability is the ability to alter the shape of a metallic material to get the desired design. If the installation process of your stainless steel tubing is going to involve bending, you need to choose a stainless steel grade that has good formability, such as ferriticgrade 430 or austenitic grade 304.
These grades can be modified into different shapes without losing their overall integrity.

Welding Needs

Stainless steel welding is more complicated than carbon steel welding. This is because it leads to intergranular corrosion, as well as stress and hot cracking. The best stainless steel materials to weld are usually in the austenitic group, mainly grades 304 and 347. Grade 304 has a low carbon composition, while grade 347 has niobium stabilisers that prevent intergranular corrosion. You may also consider the use of ferritic stainless steel grades 430 and 439.

Temperature Requirements

Different stainless steel tube grades are capable of withstanding certain temperature levels. It’s therefore vital that you choose your stainless steel tubing based on the defined temperature range. This is especially true if your application will expose the material to extreme temperature changes. If the stainless steel tubing is going to receive heat treatment, it becomes even more important to choose the right grades. You should opt for martensitic and precipitation hardened stainless steel such as grade 17-4 PH orgrade 440c

Tensile Strength Requirements

Tensile strength is the maximum stress a material can withstand when pulled or stretched. If your application will involve a lot of pressure, it would be in your best interest to look for the PSI rating of the stainless steel tubing you’re buying. Stainless steel tubes with high strength include martensitic grade 440C and precipitation-hardened steel grades 15-5 PH and 17-4 PH. If the pressure requirements of your application aren’t too high, you may choose austenitic stainless steel grade 316.

Ultimately, stainless steel is a versatile material that has a wide range of industrial, medical, marine and household applications. While the material is mostly known for its anti-corrosion properties, it also has other vital properties like tensile strength, temperature resistance and formability that make it ideal for tubing.