Medical Applications of Stainless Steels
Stainless steels are used for medical implants and surgical tools due to the excellent combination of properties, such as cost, strength, corrosion resistance, and ease of cleaning. This article describes the classifications of stainless steels, such as austenitic stainless steels, martensitic stainless steels, ferritic stainless steels, precipitation-hardening stainless steels, and duplex stainless steels. It contains a table lists common medical device applications for stainless steels. The article discusses the physical metallurgy, and physical and mechanical properties of the stainless steels. Medical device considerations for stainless steels, such as fatigue strength, corrosion resistance, and passivation techniques, are reviewed. The article describes the process features of the implant-grade stainless steels, including type 316L, type 316LVM, nitrogen-strengthened, ASTM F1314, ASTM F1586, ASTM F2229, and ASTM F2581 stainless steels.