Stainless steels are iron-base alloys containing a minimum of approximately 11″ Cr, and owing to their excellent corrosion resistance, they are used for wide range of applications. These applications include nuclear reactor vessels, heat exchangers, oil industry tubulars, chemical processing components, parts for the pulp and paper industries, furnace parts, and boilers used in fossil fuel electric power plants. The article provides a brief introduction on corrosion resistance of wrought stainless steel and its designations. It lists the chemical compositions and describes the physical and mechanical properties of five major stainless steel families, of which four are based on the crystallographic structure of the alloys, including martensitic, ferritic, austenitic, or duplex. The fifth is precipitation-hardenable alloys, based on the type of heat treatment used. The article further discusses the factors in the selection of stainless steel, namely corrosion resistance, fabrication characteristics, product forms, thermally induced embrittlement, mechanical properties in specific temperature ranges, and product cost.
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