Is stainless steel magnetic

Well, stainless steel happens to be a broad group of metals. The name emerged when the manufacturers developed an alloy that has a minimum of 10.5% chromium. So, the real question has been; is stainless steel magnetic, and why?

The straight answer is both yes and no. It depends on the type of stainless steel you may be using. There are some magnetic grades of stainless steel. On the contrary, other groups of stainless steel are non-magnetic.

Typically, stainless steel has outstanding properties, such as being corrosion resistance. Furthermore, it is also sturdy and aesthetically pleasing. Let’s take a closer look at some of the features in full detail.

Magnetic Stainless Steel

As mentioned earlier, stainless steel can be magnetic. However, it has to meet some conditions for it to be magnetic. These conditions are:

  • The alloy must have iron.
  • The crystal structure should either be martensitic or ferrite.

Usually, stainless steel is a category of steel that contains iron in it. For that matter, it will automatically meet the first requirement. The other element is the crystal structure that must get arranged in martensite or ferrite structure.

There exists a category of stainless steel that we consider them as magnetic. Examples are as follows:

Ferritic Stainless Steels

What makes the ferritic stainless steel to be magnetic is that their chemical composition has large quantities of ferrite. So, what is ferrite? It is usually that compound of iron and other metal elements.

Most of the ferritic metals are known for their flexibility hence suitable for automotive parts and kitchenware.

Characteristics of Ferric Stainless Metals

Low carbon content and high Chromium are what define ferrite metals. They are strong metals with high corrosion resistance. You can harden them by heat treatment. We can categorize ferritic stainless steel into five groups as follows:

1. Type 409, 420, 410

They have a chromium content that ranges between 10.5%-14%. Besides, they have low corrosion resistance hence suitable for low corrosive environments. Beyond that, they are least expensive since they have a low chromium content.

2. Type 430

It shows greater resistance to corrosion, making it the most used type. They have a chromium content of 14-18%. You can use it for indoor applications such as kitchenware.

3. Type 441, 439, 430Ti

They have a chromium content that ranges between 14-18%. Most importantly, they are ductile, weldable, and resistant to corrosion. You can use them for various outdoor applications like valves, washing machines, and exhaust systems.  

4. Type 436, 444

Such metals have a high corrosion resistance since they have an added molybdenum. One can use it to construct various items like exhaust systems and water tanks.

5. Type 445, 446

The metals in this category have high contents of molybdenum and Chromium. They also have high-corrosion and wear resistance. One can use them to construct major equipment like boilers, water heaters, and heat exchangers.

Martensitic Stainless Steels

They have an almost similar alloy composition as ferritic metals, and Chromium is the primary alloying component, which ranges from 12 to 15%. It has a molybdenum of about 0.2-1%. The entire composition does not contain nickel.

The cool thing about these metals is that they will offer higher corrosion resistance. They are durable, sturdy, and robust kinds of metals that you can put to use while manufacturing particular devices.

They are ideal for making military devices like guns and other sophisticated applications. Specifically, they are suitable for the fabrication of gun barrels.

Duplex Stainless Steel

Duplex stainless steel is the most common type of stainless steel. They are durable metals with higher resistance to corrosion. You can apply them correctly in high corrosive environments.

Besides, the duplex stainless steel offers good weldability. You can use it to construct hot water tanks. Furthermore, they are ideal in the construction of process plants, brewing plants, and swimming pool structures.

Are magnetic properties useful?

The magnetic properties of a particular metal have a high impact on the overall performance of the metal. For example, you may want to sort out some metals in your workshop. If the metal is magnetic, it will facilitate a fast process of sorting out.

Welding is another aspect that will affect the performance of a magnetic metal. Do you know that electro currents will perform differently in magnetic materials? It is critical to understand the magnetic properties of the metals you may be using.

Least Magnetic Stainless Steel

There exists another category of stainless steel that is non-magnetic. One such example is stainless steel type 304, and they contain 18% chromium and 8% nickel. Furthermore, they have small amounts of manganese, nitrogen, and carbon.

Another famous non-magnetic stainless steel is type 904L. This metal has a high content of molybdenum and nickel. Besides, the metal has small amounts of manganese, phosphorous, and carbon.

Still, the stainless steel type 904L has a high resistance to crevice corrosion. As a result, it will also show high resistance to stress corrosion cracking. It is formable and highly weldable.

Are they magnetized or unmagnetized? 

Typically, most of the ferritic steel will start as being unmagnetized. As you expose it to any magnetic field, they will get magnetized. Even if you move it from the magnetic field, it will remain magnetic for a while.

Non-magnetic steel lack such properties. You can expose them to a magnetic field without risk of causing them to be magnetic.

In Conclusion

Stainless steel can be either magnetic or non-magnetic. It largely depends on the alloy composition of that particular metal. The cool thing is that most of the magnetic steel has a high resistance to corrosion. As a result, they are ideal for use in highly corrosive areas.

One must know the properties of the kind of stainless steel before using it. It is because some will work well on particular conditions than others. Furthermore, you will successfully know where you can apply them to avoid wastage.

This write-up has reliable information if you want to know if the stainless steel is magnetic or not. To sum up, stainless steel is both magnetic and non-magnetic.