There are many types of stainless steel available on the market today—hundreds of different formulations, in fact. This can make choosing the right stainless steel for your wire baskets difficult, to say the least. There are many factors that go into this decision, such as:
- The properties of the stainless steel;
- The application they’ll be used for; and
- What coatings/finishes will be applied to the steel wire basket.
So, how can you choose the best stainless steel for your custom wire baskets? Here’s a quick guide:
First, What Will the Stainless Steel Wire Mesh Basket Be Used for?
Before settling on any formulation of stainless steel, it’s important to know the exact application the stainless steel wire basket will be used for. An application involving ultrasonic parts-washing in an organic solvent will have very different needs from a heat-treat application, after all.
Some key details about the custom wire basket application to consider before choosing a specific grade of stainless steel include:
- The Weight of Held Parts. Different types of stainless steel have varying levels of tensile strength. Stronger steels will hold heavier loads with thinner wire mesh without bending or breaking.
- Operating Temperatures. Most formulations of steel have a high melting point, but there are processes that will require steel which is specifically made to resist oxidation or melting at temperatures approaching 2,000˚F.
- Specific Chemicals Used. Just because a steel formula is called “stainless” doesn’t mean that it will resist every type of chemical. Some formulations of stainless steel are better at dealing with chlorides than others, while some are better at resisting exposure to certain acids.
Knowing the details of the stainless steel wire basket application is crucial for picking the stainless steel variant with the right properties to withstand the process.
Second, Get to Know Stainless Steel Properties
There are hundreds of formulations of stainless steel, but they can be divided into three broad categories:
- Austenitic Stainless Steel. This is the most common type of stainless steel on the market. It includes grade 304, 316, and 317 SS. These stainless steel alloys are not magnetic, but may become magnetic after cold working.
- Ferritic Stainless Steel. The second most common type of stainless steel. Ferritic stainless steels are inherently magnetic, and include grade 430 and 434 SS.
- Martensitic Stainless Steel. These are the rarest forms of stainless steel. Their inherent corrosion resistance is less than the other forms of stainless steel. However, when hardened and stress relieved, 420 SS is much stronger than most other stainless steels.
Which Stainless Steel Alloy is Best for My Application?
The best type of stainless steel to use for your custom wire basket will vary depending on your process. If you need something with a high tensile strength, hardened and stress-relieved 420 SS is an excellent option. It can be given a coating of polymer to increase its resistance to chemical attack.
On the other hand, if you have a high-temperature application, grade 304 stainless steel wire baskets might be your best choice. 304 SS has a relatively high operating temperature—870˚C (1,679˚F)—which makes it useful for many high-temp applications. Combined with its good overall resistance to chemical corrosion, it’s a better option than using coated steel, since most polymer coatings cannot survive the same temperatures.
If temperatures are much higher than that, Inconel alloys might be a better choice. Inconel wire baskets are often able to survive temperatures in excess of 1,093˚C (2,000˚F) while maintaining more of their tensile strength than stainless steel wire baskets can.
Need help choosing the perfect variety of stainless steel for your custom wire basket? Reach out to the engineers at Marlin Steel for advice! Marlin’s engineering team has years of experience in choosing the best materials for custom wire mesh baskets in a variety of applications.