Introduction to Stainless Steel

Posted: 16th August 3013

When choosing a material for the manufacture of products and equipment for the Pharmaceutical Industry stainless steel is the predominant safe choice, combining aesthetic qualities and proven resistance to most hostile chemical compounds, and where products require maximum possible protection from contamination.

Stainless steel is the name given to steels containing a minimum of 11% Chromium. However in practice most stainless steels have a higher 18% Chromium content to improve corrosive resistance, which when combined with around 10%-14% Nickel enhances the corrosive resistance still further.

There are over 200 different types of stainless steel with a range of properties to suit various manufacturing needs and customer requirements. For general applications there are five types that account for the bulk usage. Specifically for Pharma Hygiene Products the two types known as 304 & 316L grades are chosen for their outstanding corrosion resistant properties.

304 is an excellent general purpose grade used in many domestic applications. However 316L grade with its lower carbon content and added Molybdenum provides greater corrosive resistance. It is the preferred choice in most instances particularly within the Pharmaceutical Industry.

As a general rule 316L is used in all ‘product contact applications’ and 304 used in ‘non contact applications’. However, there are some instances where the product is not suitable to stainless steel and qualified guidance is advised.

Also see:

Stainless Steel Corrosion
Stainless Steel Corrosion Chart