Stainless steels are primarily alloys of iron and chromium. They are grouped into five families, primarily based on their microstructure: ferritic, austenitic, martensitic, duplex, and precipitation hardening. Three out of the five families of stainless steels, namely, austenitic, ferritic, and martensitic, are well suited for manufacture via conventional powder metallurgy (PM) processes. This article presents the iron-chromium partial phase diagram to illustrate the changes in the temperature range when pure iron is alloyed with chromium. It describes AISI and UNS numbering systems, which are used as an identification system for stainless steels. The article tabulates the material designations of stainless steels in accordance with the Metal Powder Industries Federation. It also details the characteristics and chemical composition of wrought and PM stainless steels.
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