Stainless Steel Fabrication: The Processes Involved
Stainless steel is considered one of the most versatile materials around. It can be easily molded into different shapes, even though it has a high hardening rate and strength. Also, it is best known for its corrosion resistance. But, there is no one way of working with it.
Here are some of the different ways you can have your stainless steel fabricated:
Different types of stainless steel can harden at different rates. In a work hardening process, the stainless steel is subject to increasing stress well beyond the yield point to make it more difficult to deform. Application of stress can come in the form of cold working as well as hard working.
Apart from being a form of stainless steel fabrication, work hardening can also be used to increase the magnetic property of a stainless steel sheet. This is especially true for those with higher work hardening rates.
Machining a stainless steel has always been considered a challenging process. Generally, the higher the alloy content of the stainless steel is, the harder it would be to have it machined. This is because higher alloy content can lead the sheet metal to resist chipping. When this happens, experts recommend the following:
• Coolants and lubricants would need to be applied to the stainless steel.
• For heat to dissipate immediately, you need to use large tools.
• Make sure you use machine tools that produce lesser vibrations.
• The cutting edge should always be sharp.
Stainless steel can be welded quite easily, although the grade of the metal sheet could have an impact on how easy is “easy.” So, most companies have the following pointers:
• Thicker austenitic stainless steel tends to succumb more to inter-granular corrosion as well as sensitisation. You might need to use low carbon grades.
• Martensitic stainless steel tends to be more susceptible to cracking, which means you need to pre-heat and post-heat the material.
• Just like the austenitic stainless steel, the ferritic kind is prone to sensitisation. When working with it, you need to use austenitic fillers.