England – 14/08/2011 – Tests have shown that Duplex stainless steel is one of the wonders of the 21st century, being tough, versatile and cheaper than most of its main competitors.
When most of us think of duplex, we may think of a particular style of house, or something folded in half. We wouldn’t be entirely wrong, as in creating duplex stainless steel, researchers have had to fold two popular types of stainless steel together to create this new super metal.
Many stainless steel alloys are based upon either ferritic or austenitic components. Ferritic stainless steels are excellent at resisting stress corrosion cracking, even in undesirable environments such as very hot, humid or chemically polluted places. On the other hand austenitic stainless steels are very corrosion resistant and ductile. So why can’t we have the best of both worlds?
Well, the answer is; we can. Through a process involving super heating the stainless steel and then cooling it to a room temperature, the two materials can be combined together to create a double microstructure, or duplex, within the stainless steel. Much like a beautiful couple producing a sickeningly cute baby, the duplex retains some of the best characteristics from each ‘parent’ making it a top choice for a range of applications and situations.
The duplex enjoys the ductility and corrosion resistance of the austenitic stainless steels, whilst also being as stress resistant as its ferritic counterparts. In addition to this, tests have shown duplex stainless steel to be around twice as strong as standard stainless steel, making it ideal for load bearing structures.
If that wasn’t enough to sell you on it, you can also expect your bank manager to be pleased that this wonder metal is becoming increasingly popular. Because the concentrations of expensive alloys such as nickel and molybdenum are lower, the price of this material tends to be lower than many of its counterparts.
Market leaders in industrial specialist piping, Special Piping Materials (SPM) are the largest stockholder of Duplex and its even more corrosion resistant big brother, Super Duplex and are pleased to be offering this hard to come by material to the construction industry in the UK and abroad.
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