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low carbon alloy steel investment cast part

Brief Guide to Stainless Steel Castings

Stainless steel is a popular choice for many safety-critical applications requiring durability, integrity, and strength. But, there are a wide array of stainless steels, each suited for different applications. If you’re not sure which type of stainless steel is best for your application, keep reading this article. We’ll discuss the most commonly used stainless steel in casting, as well as how to select the right type of stainless steel for your application.

Let’s start by discussing the overall benefits of stainless steel casting.

Benefits of Stainless Steel

Investment casting is typically used to create complex shapes that have tight tolerances. Stainless steel is used in investment casting particularly when high corrosion and wear resistance are necessary. Its high corrosion resistance makes it great for many military, medical, and industrial applications.

The benefits of stainless steel will vary depending on the alloy. All stainless steels contain at least 10.5 percent chromium, but some may contain significantly more depending on the application. Higher chromium content results in increased corrosion resistance. Additional alloying ingredients include molybdenum, nickel, titanium, aluminum, copper, nitrogen, phosphorus, and selenium.

Most Commonly Used Stainless Steel

Although many different types of alloys can be used in the investment casting process, 304 (CF-8) is the most commonly used grade. 304 stainless steel, sometimes called 18/8 steel, is a low-carbon (0.08% or less) alloy steel that usually contains 18% chromium and at least 8% nickel. This makes it resistant to scaling and corrosion at high-operating temperatures. The low carbon prevents the precipitation of carbide during welding, allowing it to be welded without annealing, even in potentially corrosive environments.

Additionally, all of the stainless steels in the 300 class have nickel in them, which helps them retain their austenitic structure as they cool down from high temperatures. Austenitic steels tend to have high ductility and can be easily welded.

304 is often used when manufacturing high-strength components for safety-critical industries in harsh environments. Other widely used stainless steel grades include: 316, 304L/316L, 410 and 416, and 17-4.

Barron Industries’ Stainless Steel

Barron Industries pours more than 50 stainless steel alloys, and we commonly provide custom alloys with specific material chemistry and mechanical specifications. These are just a few examples:

Stainless Steel GradeConditionTensile Strength (PSI)Yield Strength (PSI)% ElongationHardness Range or MaxCommon
Reference Specification
303 (CF-20)Solution Anneal65-75,00030-35,00035-6090 RbElectrical components, valve bodies, nuts and bolts,
gears, and screws
304L (CF-3)Solution Anneal70-85,00040-50,00035-5090 RbFood processing equipment, medical equipment,
threaded fasteners, marine hardware, and kitchenware
ASTM A351MIL-S-81591
304 (CF-8)Solution Anneal70-85,00040-50,00035-5090 RbFlanges, marine fittings, bearings, food processing
equipment, valve components, heat exchangers
316L (CF-3M)Solution Anneal70-85,00040-50,00035-5090 RbMedical/pharmaceutical equipment, heat exchangers,
food equipment
316L (CF-8M)Solution Anneal70-85,00040-50,00045-5090 RbFittings, flanges, and pressure-containing componentsASTM A743ASTM A351MIL-S-81591
347 (CF-8C)Hardened95-200,00075-160,00030-4094 Rb-45 RcFasteners, ovens, containers, and vatsASTM A743AMS 5362
410 (CA-15)Hardened95-200,00075-160,0005-1294 Rb-45 RcAutomobile components, tools, bolts, shafts, and screwsASTM A743
416 (IC 416)Hardened95-200,00075-160,0003-894 Rb-45 RcValve parts, gears, screw-machined components, 
and pumps
13-8 PHHardened130-180,000100-150,0005-1526-40 RcAerospace components and injection molding
AMS 5840
17-4 PHHardened150-190,000140-160,0006-2034-44 RcAerospace components, food processing equipment,
pumps, and motor shafts.
ASTM A747AMS 5355AMS 5643
15-5 PHHardened135-170,000110-145,0005-1526-38 RcEngine parts, marine gas turbine compressors, papermill
equipment, fasteners, gears, and aerospace components
AMS 5346AMS 5347

Have Questions? Contact Barron Industries Today!

The right type of stainless steel grade depends on specific requirements of your application. If you have questions about each type of stainless steel alloy, or need help selecting the right grade, get help from Barron Industries. We’ve been providing metal casting services for over 100 years, and take pride in being a name synonymous with quality. Contact us today, and let us know how we can help you.