Steel is undoubtedly a crucial material across various industries, ranging from consumer products to construction. The wide variety of steel available in the market may amaze you. Different forging processes result in different types of steel. Three of the most popular methods of steel forging are carbon steel forging, stainless steel forging, and alloy steel forging. Among these, stainless steel finds widespread application due to its strength and rust resistance.
What is stainless steel?
Stainless steel is essentially an alloy of iron and other minerals. However, a critical difference between stainless steel and alloy steel forging is that the latter contains significant amounts of elements like copper and nickel. Stainless steel, however, has chromium as its key alloying element. The percentage of chromium in stainless steel usually ranges from 10% to 20%. In addition, stainless steel typically comes with a shiny surface that is very difficult to tarnish.
How does the stainless steel forging process enhance the product?
The key reason why stainless steel is such a popular material is that it offers several advantages over regular steel. Here are a few ways in which stainless steel forging enhances the steel:
- Corrosion resistance: The very feature that has earned stainless steel its name is that it resists stains and rust. The key reason behind such high corrosion resistance is the chromium content in the steel.
- Strength: Stainless steel is strong, which makes it a viable material for various applications. Moreover, stainless steel tends to retain its strength in various temperature conditions.
- Cleanliness: Stainless steel is a popular material for tools and utensils that find their place in hospitals and kitchens. This is because stainless steel does not support bacterial growth.
- Durability: Stainless steel products can last long. It is also possible to recycle this type of steel in most cases. This is one of the reasons why stainless steel forging is often a better choice than carbon steel forging.
- Looks: The alloy content of stainless steel gives it a shiny and aesthetic appeal. It is pretty common to find beautiful objects made of stainless steel in homes.
How does the stainless-steel forging process take place?
Now, you might find interest in how exactly the forging process takes place. Essentially, the method differs from the forging processes of the other types of steel. Here is a quick overview of what it is like:
- Gathering all the materials is naturally the first step. As mentioned earlier, the materials that are necessary for stainless steel differ from the alloy steel forging process.
- An electric arc furnace then melts all the materials and additives to derive a molten liquid. The temperature would vary based on the desired class of stainless steel.
- The next step is to remove carbon through Argon oxygen decarburization or Vacuum oxygen decarburization. Excess carbon in stainless steel can cause problems.
- The tuning process follows, involving fine adjustments to the chemical composition of the steel.
- The molten steel is now poured into casts of various shapes. After this, hot rolling or cold rolling helps convert the steel from the cast into the desired forms, such as sheets, wires, bars, etc.
- Ultimately, the processes of cutting and finishing help to derive the final product.
This is how the leading manufacturers carry out stainless steel forging for steel of various grades. Choosing the correct type of stainless steel for a product can guarantee a long lifespan.