Over 100 years have passed since stainless steel was first used. It is made up of various iron-based alloys, but unlike conventional steel, they are corrosion resistant and do not rust when shown to water alone. The alloying element that makes steel stainless is chromium; however, the addition of nickel alloy stainless steel to become such a versatile alloy.
Stainless steel represents for more than two-thirds of worldwide nickel production. Nickel is highly significant in producing stainless steel; grades contain nickel, around 75 % of its production.
Why is Nickel a Significant Element?
Stainless steels with an austenitic structure have good ductility and formability. The standard 18% chromium/8% nickel Type 304, in particular, has good stretch-forming properties. A slightly higher nickel content improves austenite stability and reduces work-hardening tendency, making it more suitable for deep drawing.
Welding is used to create many pieces of stainless steel equipment. The most widely used stainless steels worldwide are Types 304 and 316, which are austenitic nickel alloys that generally are better for welding than other alloys. They can be welded in both thick and thin sections.
Most Jindal stainless steels have good toughness at room temperature; however, as temperature drops, the ferritic structure becomes increasingly brittle, rendering ferritic stainless steels unsuitable for cryogenic use. On the other hand, standard austenitic stainless steels retain good toughness even at liquid helium temperatures (-270oC), which is why grades like Type 304 are widely used in cryogenic applications.
The austenitic alloys of stainless steel that contain nickel have significantly greater high-temperature strength than other alloys, especially regarding their capacity to withstand creep or the tendency to move slowly or permanently deform under mechanical stresses. When exposed to temperatures above 300oC, these alloys are much less likely to form damaging brittle phases.
At the end of a steel’s shelf life, most nickel-containing materials are fully recyclable; their high value encourages recycling. This, in turn, deducts the environmental impact of nickel-containing stainless steel by lowering the need for virgin elements and the energy required for production.
Common austenitic alloys containing nickel are excellent all-around performers. They are widely available, have well-understood properties and applications, and are versatile and straightforward. They are also highly durable and are extensively recycled when their useful life is over. Because they frequently provide the most practical, low-risk material option, these grades are found in many types of applications.
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