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Due to its corrosive resistance, stainless steel is king since it is the most versatile material used in making steel tubes. It requires little to no maintenance, doesn’t rust and doesn’t affect other metals it comes in contact with. It is used in many applications due to its extreme durability and resistance, able to withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures without getting any scratch or dent of damage.
From chairs to refrigerators, stainless steel is used in many products to add beauty and rigidity as well as structure to their design. Its aesthetic value also makes it expensive as it is both pleasing to the eyes and tough as steel always is.
As steel tubes can be classified into three different types, so are stainless steel classified into sub-types, each one catered to addressing one problem. This is where it gets difficult. Due to tubes and pipes being notoriously hard to distinguish since both are similar in many ways, classification becomes hard since we have to differentiate between type and grade of the stainless steel as well.
One of the materials used in the stainless steel piping subtype is type 304, a highly corrosive and chemical resistant selection which fulfills the requirements of a stainless steel pipe. Its disadvantage however is that it can’t be used in any application that falls away from 800 to 1640 degrees Fahrenheit unless you use the improved 304L version.
Another sub-type, Stainless Steel Tubing for General Corrosion-Resistance, requires corrosion resistance above all other properties that can’t be dissolved by the most acidic chemicals, which are usually exemplified by chromium-based steels of the ferritic and martensitic variety as well as nickel-infused-with-chromium austenitic stainless steel. Any steel able to withstand high concentrations of acid can be made into this type
Pressure pipes are distinguished by the material it’s made from, which is either pure chromium or a combination of chromium and nickel, making it one of the few metal types capable of withstanding enormous pressure without getting damaged.
Stainless steel sanitary tubing uses tubes that are corrosion-resistant, doesn’t tarnish easily and equally easy to clean, narrowing the selection of which steel could be made to this sub-type. It should also be mentioned that sanitary tubing usually only uses one grade: ASTMA270.
Mechanical tubing remains the most manipulated sub-type as it is applied to cylinders and bearings, requiring steel that is both highly flexible and resistant to various chemicals. This sub-type uses ASTMA511 and A554.
Aircraft require very specific types of stainless steels, types which are heat and corrosive-resistant and able to resist wind damage. Grades used in this subtype are almost always a combination of nickel and chromium stainless steels because they embody all previously described traits accepted by aircraft engineers and approved by aircraft manufacturers.
A variation of aircraft tubing, hydraulic-line tubing is used in protecting airplanes from the explosive properties of its own rocket fuel and hydraulic systems. Manufactured from types 304 or 304L, it shares many similarities with the first sub-type; the only difference is the steel is further refined to handle enormous heat and pressure from the combustion of the rocket fuel.
The content of the materials inside the stainless steel is determined by the purpose it is being set up to do. To easily understand it, the stainless steel grade’s inherent properties place it in the subtype that requires the same properties.