Stainless steel plates are an alloy of iron and other materials like chromium. Since iron is the main constituent in stainless steel so it is an iron based alloy, which contains at least 10%-11% chromium. The stainless property of steel comes from the presence of chromium, which forms a thin protective and invisible film that is resistant to oxidation and in this way makes the stainless steel resistant to corrosive action. The stainless steel plates come in various different mixes each serving a specific purpose. Varying the iron and chromium ratio and sometimes adding certain other ingredients also obtain the different families of stainless steel. Stainless grades can be further refined or altered so that they can sustain high temperatures and have increased strength.
Stainless steel plates come in many different grades. Some of the common and popular ones are 304/304L, 316/316L and 321-grade plate. These grades belong to austenitic stainless steel family. The versatility of austenitic steel makes it highly suitable for stainless steel. Stainless steel plates of grade 304 are resistant to corrosion but the grade 316/316L stainless steel plates perform even better against corrosion due to higher concentration or percentage of nickel than 304/304L. This high resistance to corrosion makes them highly desirable for marine related jobs. Each grade has its own specific utility; if you want to use stainless steel plates to withstand high temperatures without suffering any damage then grade 321 stainless steel plates are an excellent choice. Grade 321 stainless steel plates can withstand temperature up to 900C whereas grade 304 can be safely used only up to 500C.
Stainless Steel Plates Applications
Stainless steel plates are used in a wide range of applications. Due to their corrosive resistant property these are extensively used in making vessels for chemical processes. Their strength and finish makes them an ideal candidate for architectural applications as well. The stainless steel plates are used for making conveyers and have a wide range of applications in marine industry. They are highly desirable for making heat exchangers. Food processing and handling industry is no stranger to the use of stainless steel plates. These plates are highly used for making pharmaceutical equipment. These are just some of the applications but stainless steel plates are not limited to these applications alone and find their use in various other fields as well.
Common Stainless Steel Plates Dimensions
The stainless steel plates come in sizes of varying thicknesses, widths and lengths. The most common industry standard thicknesses range from 3/16” to 6” thickness. Although most commonly used stainless steel plates have a thickness of 2” on the upper side. The plates also come in widths of varying sizes; the two most common widths used in the industry are 48”and 60”, though it is not uncommon to find widths in excess of sixty inches. The lengths of stainless steel can be 96”, 120” and 144”. Slightly different lengths on plates are also available but the ones mentioned earlier are the most commonly used. Customized lengths, widths and thicknesses are also available; usually these are made to order stainless steel plates. The most common grades are already discussed earlier and they are usually in the 300 series range, like 304/304L and 316/316L. But there are other grades in the 300 series also available. A few stainless steel plates are made in 400 grade series as well. The stainless steel plates come in different tolerances depending on their thickness, length and width.
There is also an option for the customers to choose from different processes for stainless steel plates production. These are usually done for customized plates and also helps reduce material and production costs. Specific processes for specific needs also help save on production time and reduce scrap. Advanced processes like water jet cutting (high speed water jet cutting) and laser cutting are often employed for producing stainless steel plates of precise tolerances.