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Types & Characteristics of Stainless Steel

Deciding upon the right stainless steel for a given application requires considering several different factors. There are three stock choices: 201, 304 or 316. Each of these has its own, detailed ASTM specs under the heading 666.

When people choose stainless steel, they are looking for both strength and corrosion resistance. The specs page will give you information on the chemical makeup—including how much chrome, nickel and so forth is used in the formulation—as well as specific information on the physical strength of the material in question.

Uses of stainless steel by grade

Any stainless steel can be used for banding There are approximately 2,000 types of stainless steel that are regularly manufactured. Understanding why the aforementioned three types are used for banding is very important. There are specific reasons why they are chosen.

BA202, BA203, BA204, BA205, BA206, BA430, BA431, and BA432 are all 201 stainless steel products. They start at one quarter inch and can go all the way up to two inches in width. This type of stainless steel in these widths is, by far, the most common and popular in use.

Characteristics of 201

201 stainless bends easily and tensions easily. It has excellent characteristics where elongation is concerned and, overall, it is a very easy product to work with.

201 is most appropriate to an environment where it isn’t exposed to solvents, chemicals, sewage and so forth. While it is excellent in any environment that might be considered normal—such as those that involve rain, auto exhaust and smog—it is not as corrosion resistant as are 304 and 316 stainless.

Most municipalities rely on 201 stainless for hanging signs. Not only is it stronger than the other two types and able to hold up to the exposures in these applications, it is actually quite a bit less expensive than the other options.

Characteristics of 304

304 stainless is from ½” to ¾” wide and is usually purchased in lighter gauges (thicknesses) than 201. This option is usually used in chemical plants and other environments where corrosion is a concern. It is not as strong as 201. It is available in the LG section of the website.

Characteristics of 316

BA402, BA403, BA404, BA405, and BA406 are all 316 stainless steel products. They range from ¼” to ¾” wide and are of the same thickness as 201 stainless. Among the three, this is the most corrosion-resistant option. It is also, however, the most expensive of the three options. It generally costs between 30 and 40% more than 201 stainless.