While there are a multitude of stainless steel alloys on the market, it can be tough to find the perfect metal for your needs. One of the first thingS that buyers look at is the cost rather than the performance. As such it’s easy to be swayed by the cheaper price. While in some cases this is okay, in others it can be a costly and serious mistake.
The bottom line is that there are some cases where paying more for higher quality metal is not only a good idea…it’s essential!
Most fab shops will stock 304 and 316 grades of steel and both of these are high performing in terms of tensile strength, corrosion resistance, and durability. However while 304 grade can stand up to a variety of environments, other grades such as 316 have greater resistance to certain chlorides and corrosives.
In most cases that’s sufficient.. however in some cases there are certain extreme operating conditions where even 316 steel isn’t enough.
In applications where the metal comes into contact with smaller concentrations of hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acid, and sodium hydroxide per se, then 316 steel would corrode at a quicker rate than 317 grade or higher. So if your process involved using diluted versions of the above chemicals, then you should effectively opt for the higher grade and unfortunately that means paying more.
So why is that?
Effectively It’s all about the molybdenum!
As a general rule of thumb, the higher the molybdenum content in the metal, the greater its resistance to corrosion and it’s the added molybdenum that influences the cost.
So clearly, paying the extra money is worth it right?
Well yes and no!
The problem is that there are certain chemicals that corrode quicker on higher grade stainless steels than on say a standard 304 of 316 grade. In recent tests for example, 317 stainless steel corroded quicker when in contact with phosphoric and acetic acids.
So what’s the takeaway?
Ultimately purchasers should always have a detailed knowledge about the process and/or environments in which the material is going to be exposed. Ultimately it’s this that should always dictate the grade of stainless steel you need to buy rather than the cost.
So in answer to the question “is higher grade stainless steel worth the price?” the answer would be YES, but only if you match it to the right project!
If you have a particular project and are unsure of the grade of stainless steel you require then come and talk to Metro Steel. We know from our vast experience what grades are most suited to a particular job and as such, we’ll ensure that you don’t ever over pay for a steel that you don’t need. Either call us on 07 3204 1000 or pop into our Deception Bay fab shop and talk to us face to face.