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The Challenges of Slurry Valve Packing

The Challenges of Slurry Valve Packing

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The Many Layers of Valve Qualification

The Many Layers of Valve Qualification

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Valves Help Achieve Net-Zero Water Use

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Valve Selection in Pulp and Paper Operations

Valve Selection in Pulp and Paper Operations

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Industry Headlines

Wolseley Announces Name Change, CEO Succession

Wednesday, 29 March 2017  |  Chris Guy

Wolseley plc is officially changing its name to Ferguson plc, subject to shareholder approval. Ferguson is the most significant brand in the Wolseley ...

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Industry Headlines

Wolseley Announces Name Change, CEO Succession

6 HOURS AGO

Wolseley plc is officially changing its name to Ferguson plc, subject to shareholder approval. Ferguson is the most significant brand in the Wolseley Group of companies and accounts for 84% of the Wolseley Group’s profitability.

The company also announced that CEO Frank Roach will retire on July ...

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Spirax Sarco Employees Build Prosthetic Hands for Children

12 HOURS AGO

Spirax Sarco hosted their annual charity event at the Westin Hotel in Savannah, GA on Saturday, March 11, 2017 where participants built prosthetic hands for children in third-world countries who are missing limbs.

There are 300,000 landmine rated amputees globally and 20% of those are children. Emplo...

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In Blow to Nuclear Industry, Westinghouse Files for Bankruptcy

11 HOURS AGO

“The Westinghouse unit of Japanese technology giant Toshiba plunged into Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday as the Cranberry Township, Pa.-based division faces cost overruns and delays with its U.S. nuclear plant projects,” reports USA Today .

“The company said the bankruptcy does not aff...

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Colorado Seeing Surge in Oil & Gas Investments

1 DAY AGO

“Drilling applications and investments by oil and gas companies are surging in Colorado after crude prices partially rebounded from their collapse in recent years, pushing the industry deeper into residential communities largely unaccustomed to drilling,” the Associated Press is reporting .

&...

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Four Out of Ten Jobs Could be Lost to Automation by 2021

1 DAY AGO

Automation is the new norm across sectors and will affect the bottom of pyramid so much so that four out of every 10 jobs globally would be lost due to this by 2021, experts say. As automation adoption increases, all high transaction and labor intensive jobs will take a hit. According to PeopleStrong...

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U.S. Durable Goods Orders Rose 1.7% in February

2 DAYS AGO

New orders for manufactured durable goods in February increased $3.9 billion or 1.7% to $235.4 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced . This increase, up two consecutive months, followed a 2.3% January increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.4%. Excluding defense, new or...

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Less Expensive Stainless Steels

materials_q_and_a_graphicQ: High metal prices, especially for nickel and molybdenum, have our procurement people looking at less expensive stainless steels like the 200 series. Are these as good as 304 and 316 stainless steels?

A: Before answering this question, let’s look at the history and differences between the 200 and 300 series stainless steels. The original 200 series stainless steels were first developed in the 1930s by using manganese to replace some of the nickel in the 300 series austenitic stainless steels. Certain elements used in stainless steels either promote the formation of the austenitic or ferritic atomic structure, and the austenitic stainless steels are the more corrosion resistant. The austenitic-forming elements are nickel, manganese, nitrogen, copper and carbon. The primary ferrite-forming element is chromium.

Since a stainless steel needs 10-12% minimum chromium to be considered “stainless,” it then takes about 8-10% nickel to offset the ferritic-forming tendency of chromium to make a stainless-steel austenitic more corrosion resistant. Historically, manganese has always been a lower cost element than nickel. So whenever there is a scarcity of nickel (as there was in the 1970s) or when nickel prices are high, such as they are now, people look to the 200 series stainless steels as lower cost alternatives.

But before deciding to use a 200 series stainless steel, there are issues to be considered. To further complicate the matter, there has been an increase in newer chrome-manganese grades developed and produced in Southeast Asia and China. The 200 series now represent 34% of China’s production of stainless steels.

Facts About the 200 Series

There are two categories of the 200 series stainless steels—those that only replace some of the nickel with manganese, such as the original 201 or 202 grades, and those that replace most of the nickel, such as the newer grades now being seen in Asia. These newer low-nickel grades also tend to have lower chromium, which further decreases their corrosion resistance.

To date there are no international standards for the use of these newer grades. To add additional confusion, users of stainless equipment, such as valves, know that magnetism—or more correctly, the lack of magnetism—is a way of verifying they have received the superior 300 series stainless steels. Since 200 series grades are non-magnetic, this could cause a buyer to mistakenly believe they have the correct and more corrosion-resistant 300 series stainless steel. In fact, there have been a few instances of deliberate mislabeling of 200 series grades as being 304 stainless. Some scrap dealers also still rely on magnetism to sort the 300 series grades from the magnetic and less corrosion-resistant 400 series stainless steels. Thus, the proliferation of the non-magnetic 200 series grades could lead to some serious scrap contamination issues if recyclers are not careful.

The first indication as to whether these grades are equivalent to 304 and 316 is they receive little attention until nickel either becomes scarce or when nickel prices are high. The primary reason they do not see greater use is simply because they are not as corrosion resistant as 304 and 316 stainless steels. However, the 200 series grades do have several beneficial uses, including cookware, railcars, lighting columns, washing machines and most mildly corrosive applications.

Problems with Corrosion

While the 200 series alloys do have good atmospheric corrosion resistance, they do not have good resistance to most corrosive chemicals. In addition, because most of the 200 series alloys tend to have a higher carbon content to help promote the austenitic structure, it makes them more susceptible to intergranular corrosion. Other characteristics that make the 200 series less attractive include their tendency to be more work hardenable and their potential to have slightly inferior surface finish.

So if you really need to lower your cost, you need to be very careful in the application of these 200 series stainless steels. A better choice would be to look at some of the duplex stainless steels such as S31803. The duplexes have about half the nickel of the 300 series so at the higher nickel prices they may be less expensive than the 300 series while providing comparable corrosion resistance. There are also some new lean (lower nickel) duplex grades on the market that may be even more cost effective. In any case, be sure to deal with reputable and knowledgeable suppliers who can assist you with the proper material selection.


Thomas Spence is director of materials engineering of Flowserve Corporation (www.flowserve.com). Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The author wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Don Bush, materials engineer, Emerson Process Management-Fisher Division (www.emersonprocess.com).

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