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Grades 321 and 347 are the basic austenitic 18/8 steel (Grade 304) stabilised by Titanium

(321) or Niobium (347) additions. These grades are used because they are not sensitive to
intergranular corrosion after heating within the carbide precipitation range of 425-850C.
Grade 321 is the grade of choice for applications in the temperature range of up to about
900C, combining high strength, resistance to scaling and phase stability with resistance to
subsequent aqueous corrosion.
Grade 321H is a modification of 321 with a higher carbon content, to provide improved high
temperature strength.
A limitation with 321 is that titanium does not transfer well across a high temperature arc,
so is not recommended as a welding consumable. In this case grade 347 is preferred - the
niobium performs the same carbide stabilisation task but can be transferred across a
welding arc. Grade 347 is therefore the standard consumable for welding 321. Grade 347 is
only occasionally used as parent plate material.
Like other austenitic grades, 321 and 347 have excellent forming and welding
characteristics, are readily brake or roll formed and have outstanding welding
characteristics. Post-weld annealing is not required. They also have excellent toughness,
even down to cryogenic temperatures. Grade 321 does not polish well, so is not
recommended for decorative applications.
Grade 304L is more readily available in most product forms, and so is generally used in
preference to 321 if the requirement is simply for resistance to intergranular corrosion after
welding. However 304L has lower hot strength than 321 and so is not the best choice if the
requirement is resistance to an operating environment over about 500C.

SS304(1.4301)
Basic grade of stainless steel. Good resistance to high temperature oxidation up to 900 C.
O

Very good mechanical strength and creep resistance.

SS304L(1.4306)
Low carbon version of SS 304 guaranteed no creep resistance above 500oC. good high
temperature oxidation up to 900 C..
o

SS309S(1.4828)
Corrosion resistance similar to, but better than, that of Type 304. Good resistance to high
temperature oxidation up to 1093oC. Very good creep strength and weld ability.

SS317L(1.4438)

Properties similar to SS316L. Main applications : pipe and heat exchanger tubes.

SS321(1.4541)
General corrosion resistance similar to those of SS 304. Good high temperature oxidation
resistance up to 900oC. Very good mechanical strength and creep resistance.

SS347(1.4550)
Properties similar to those of SS321.

SS410(1.4006)
Type 410 is least expensive stainless steel. Good resistance to high temperature to 700 oC.

SS420(1.4021)
Good corrosion resistance and good high temperature oxidation resistance up to700oC.
Excellent mechanical characteristics.

SS430(1.4016)
Better corrosion resistance than Types 420 and 410. Good oxidation resistance up to 800oC.

HOW TO SELECT A GRADE


Stainless steels are engineering materials with good corrosion-resistance, strength and fabrication characteristics.
They can readily meet a wide range of design criteria, including load, service life and low maintenance. Selecting the
proper stainless steel grades involves weighing four qualities in the following order of importance:
1.

Corrosion or Heat Resistance, the primary reason for specifying stainless. The specifier needs to know the
nature of the environment and the degree of corrosion or heat resistance required.

2.

Mechanical Properties, particularly strength at room, elevated or low temperature. The combination of
corrosion resistance and strength is the basis for selection.

3.

Fabrication Operations and how the product will be made (e.g., forging, machining, forming, welding,
stamping, roll forming, four-slide operations).

4.

Total Cost, including material and production costs and considering the cumulative savings of a
maintenance-free product with longevity.

The corrosion, heat resistance and mechanical properties are all affected by the chemical composition of the
stainless steel. As the composition of the steel is varied, so are the properties. The major alloying elements of
stainless steel include:

Chromium
1.

Forms a passive surface film to make stainless steel resistant to corrosion.

2.

Increases the scaling resistance, tensile strength and wear resistance.

Manganese
1.

Improves hot-working properties.

2.

Up to 2% has no effect on strength, ductility and toughness.

3.

Above 2% increases yield strength and tensile strength (as in the 201 grade).

4.

Important as a partial replacement of nickel in the 201 grade.

5.

Stabilizes the austenitic structure.

Molybdenum
1.

Increases creep resistance; strength at high temperatures; and corrosion resistance, particularly in sulfite,
sulfate, acetic acid and acetate solutions and in a salt-water atmosphere.

2.

Expands range of passivity and counteracts tendency to pit.

Nickel
1.

Stabilizes the austenitic structure.

2.

Increases high-temperature strength; ductility, which makes stainless steel easier to form; and corrosion
resistance, particularly in industrial and marine atmospheres and the chemical-, food- and textile-processing
industries.

Silicon
1.

Increases scaling resistance by forming a tight initial scale that will withstand cyclic temperature changes;
also slightly increases tensile strength and hardness.

2.

Resists carburizing at high temperatures.

3.

When 1% or more, improves resistance to strong sulfuric acid but offers little improvement for dilution and is
unfavorable in nitric-acid service.

*Note: Ductility decreases as silicon content increases.

Sulfur Phosphorous Selenium


1.

Increases machinability.

2.

Decreases ductility and transverse tensile strength.

Titanium Columbium Tantalum


1.

Prevents intergranular corrosion by stabilizing the carbon as titanium or columbium carbides.

2.

Produces finer grain size.

3.

Reduces stretcher strains from drawing and forming by their addition to type 430.

Furnace Tube Inspection System - FTIS


Inspection of serpentine or arbor coils in process fired heaters is difficult using conventional NDT
methods. Quest Integrity Group offers a comprehensive solution with its furnace tube inspection
system, or FTIS, and advanced engineering assessment capabilities. FTIS is an intelligent pig that
quickly and accurately inspects the convection and radiant coil sections of fired heaters per API
Recommended Practice 573. It is an ultrasonic inspection technology that is launched following the
mechanical cleaning, or decoking of the furnace coils interior surface.
FTIS detects and measures existing damage mechanisms such as internal or external corrosion,
erosion and pitting, along with deformation such as bulging, swelling and ovality in serpentine or
arbor coils. These damage mechanisms are quickly identified and quantified in an inspection report
and an onsite preliminary assessment is typically delivered to the client within 24 hours of the
inspection. Based on the inspection results, an advanced engineering assessment using the companys
proprietary software, LifeQuest Heater, calculates the remaining life and fitness-for-service of the
fired heater tubes in accordance to the API 579 / ASME FFS-1 standards. Accurate corrosion rate
information helps decrease the risk of failure and helps operators improve extended run times, which
translates to increased fired heater efficiency and reliability.