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Stainless steel is a type of steel which contains less than 2% of carbon and more than 2% of iron.
When the stainless steel is smelted, the alloy elements such as chromium (Cr), nickle (Ni), manganese (Mn), silicon (Si), titanium (Ti), molybdenum (Mo) etc are combined with the steel to enhance its performance and make it corrosion as well as heat resistant. It is because of these qualities that stainless steel becomes versatile and suitable for use in various industries such as the food, engineering, pharmaceutical and architecture. Some of its other key qualities include- high weldability and formability, non-magnetic, durability, anti-corrosive and not hardening when exposed to heat.
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Those who are aware of stainless steel, would also be familiar with the fact that stainless steel comes in different grades. This difference comes in because of different varieties and the number of stainless-steel alloys added to it in the process of smelting to enhance the steel’s performance. Some of the grades of stainless steel includes type 304, 301, 202, 201, 316, 317 etc. Type 304 is considered as the most common one for its features such as easily roll-formed, weldability, excellent resistance to corrosion. It is for these features that it is used for chemical processing equipment across multiple industries like food, dairy and beverage industries.
Stainless steel comes in various forms such as bars, channels, flats, sheets, plates, coils and rounds. Focussing on sheet and plate products, the major difference between two is about their thickness when the metal is rolled out. While the stainless-steel sheet has a thickness of more than 6mm, stainless steel sheet comes in a thickness of less than 6mm.
Stainless steel plates are flat and long products made of different grades such as 304, 316, 310 and 321 in different finishes like hot rolled, dull polished, and mirror polished. The thickness of the stainless-steel plates ranges in between 3 mm and 250 mm. The stainless-steel plates have a shiny and smooth surface and based on the requirements, they can be cut in size or rolled in coils while being manufactured.
Stainless steel sheets are made of austenitic, ferritic, duplex and martensitic stainless steel and with the help of hot rolling and cold rolling process. The primary and alloy elements are melted at 15000 Celsius temperature with the help of blast furnace electric arc furnace. The difference between the two furnaces is- the former takes help of the vacuum-oxygen decarburization process to make a stainless-steel slab while the latter uses argon-oxygen decarburization process. Its finishes include Cold Rolled (2b), Dull Polished (240 Grit) 1 side, Dull Polished (240 Grit) 2 sides, Mirror Polished 1 Side, Mirror Polished 2 Sides, Bright Annealed, Satin Polished (320 Grit) 1 side, Satin Polished (320 Grit) 2 sides, Circle polished- 50mm circles.
Stainless steel plates or more commonly called hot rolled product, are used where durability and strength play the most crucial requirements. A super duplex steel plate brings down the chances of welding and increases the structural integrity and minimizes the requirement of additional structural support and thereby reducing the construction costs.
In terms of industrial application, stainless steel plates are used in the car manufacturing industry in order to furnish durability and strength. These plates are also used extensively in the aviation, transportation industries to provide structural sections for ships, military vehicles, railways and trucks.
Other than these industries, stainless steel plates are preferred in fuel and chemical tankers, chemical and petrochemical plants and the pharmaceutical industry because of its distinctive properties such as low maintenance and corrosion resistance.
Just like the above mentioned plates, stainless steel sheets are also known for its exceptional strength, durability and finish.
Since it has a good resistance power to corrosion, it is highly preferred for food production and storage as these sheets do not affect the flavor of the food even after coming in contact with the acidic foods. It is best to maintain the integrity of a sterile environment such as medical industry as it is easy to be cleaned, keeping the application germs free.
Contrary to stainless steel plates, these sheets are known as Cold Rolled Products. They are commonly used for creating cookware such as grills, sinks, pots and cookers along with as a finish for freezers, dishwashers and countertops.
These sheets can be procured in flat pieces and coiled strips and a very good option if making license plates for cars and as the base of light bulbs.
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