Stainless steel is commonly used in culinary and cookware, surgical and medical instruments, and construction equipment. One of its most common traits that make stainless steel so valuable is that apart from being corrosion-resistant, stainless steel is also non-magnetic.
What most people do not know is that not all categories of stainless steel are non-magnetic. Some stainless steels, such as grades 409, 430, and 439, are indeed magnetic. Because most stainless steels are non-magnetic, it is is a common misunderstanding that all stainless steels are non-magnetic.
Stainless steels differ from steel because it has high amounts of chromium. When stainless steel has high amounts of chromium and nickel, it becomes non-magnetic. Stainless steels that contain nickel are known as austenitic steels, and austenitic steel can lose their permeability, meaning that non-magnetic steels can become magnetic under certain situations.
Type 304 is mainly used for cookware, cutlery, and kitchen equipment because they all require non-magnetic stainless steel. Type 304 is the most common austenitic stainless steel. It is also known as 18/8 or A2. Another commonly known stainless steel type is type 316. It has superior corrosion resistance and is non-magnetic, making it extremely useful for near seawater locations.
Magnetic stainless steels are known as martensitic stainless steels. They do not contain nickel but contain chromium in high amounts. Because of their low nickel and chromium properties, ferritic stainless steels have less corrosion resistance and decreased magnetic strength.
Since there are so many different types of stainless steel, it can sometimes be challenging to decide what you need; at Fort Bend Steel Supply, we can provide you with different kinds of stainless steel, and we can help you find just what you want. You can call us at (281) 499-5800 to inquire further.