Common Types of Steel Used in Sheet Metal Fabrication

Last Updated on October 12, 2023 by assistant

Sheet metal processing is a frequently occurring link in industrial manufacturing. Ruitai is a professional manufacturer providing sheet metal processing services, with more than ten years of rich experience in sheet metal processing parts. In this blog, we mainly talk about the types of steel commonly used in sheet metal manufacturing, so that everyone can fully understand the materials used in sheet metal processing. Here are the details.


Austenitic stainless steel refers to steel with an austenitic structure at high temperatures. Steel has a stable austenite structure, of which Cr accounts for about 18%, Ni 8%~10%, and C about 0.1%. Austenitic stainless steels are stable at temperatures above 912 degrees Celsius (1,674 degrees Fahrenheit). It is a general term for all stainless steel. The 303, 304 and 306 grades we see daily in sheet metal processing and manufacturing are one of them, retaining the austenitic structure at room temperature. It can be understood that austenite is the father of 303, 304, and 306 stainless steel.


Austenitic stainless steel is non-magnetic and has high toughness and plasticity, but low strength. It cannot be strengthened by phase change and can only be strengthened by cold working. If elements such as S, Ca, Se, and Te are added, it will have good machinability. Therefore, it is widely used in industrial and furniture decoration industries as well as food and medical industries.

Level 303

Grade 303 stainless steel is an austenitic free-cutting stainless steel. The advantages are excellent stainless steel corrosion resistance and intergranular corrosion resistance, excellent hot and cold processing and forming properties, good low temperature performance, good welding performance, and the price is relatively cheap, so it is widely used. . It contains added sulfur or selenium to improve machinability. It is typically used in applications requiring excellent machinability and moderate corrosion resistance, such as fittings, shafts and valves.


Level 304

Grade 304 stainless steel is an austenitic stainless steel with a standard composition of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. It is a non-magnetic stainless steel and its metallographic structure cannot be changed by heat treatment. It is also one of the most widely used stainless steel grades. It has excellent corrosion resistance, good formability and is easy to manufacture. Grade 304 is commonly used in a variety of applications, including kitchen equipment, building components, and industrial applications.


In addition, 304 stainless steel has good corrosion resistance, heat resistance, low temperature strength and mechanical properties; it has good hot processing properties such as stamping and bending. Therefore, 304 stainless steel products cover the industrial, furniture and decoration industries as well as the food and medical industries. Such as ordinary corrosion-resistant containers, plate heat exchangers, corrugated pipes, household items (Class I and II tableware, cabinets, indoor pipes, water heaters, boilers, bathtubs), auto parts (wipers, mufflers, molded products), medical equipment, building materials , chemical industry, food industry, agriculture, ship parts, etc. Not only that, 304 is also widely used in curtain walls, side walls, roofs and other construction purposes.

316 Stainless Steel

On the basis of 304, molybdenum element is added to obtain a special corrosion-resistant structure. Therefore, it is often used in the production of mechanical parts that require rust prevention. Compared with 304, 316 stainless steel has superior seawater resistance to seawater and various media. If your environment is in an industrial or marine atmosphere with severe corrosion all year round, then the material you choose to make your mechanical parts is most appropriate. It is best to use 316 stainless steel.



Ferritic stainless steel (400 series) is a nickel-free stainless steel. This type of steel has the characteristics of large thermal conductivity, small expansion coefficient, good oxidation resistance, and excellent stress corrosion resistance. Mainly used to make stainless steel resistant to atmosphere and water vapor parts corroded by water and oxidizing acids. It is worth noting that stainless steel is divided into two types: ordinary ferrite and high-purity ferrite. Ferritic stainless steels are an excellent alternative material in many applications where it was originally thought that only austenitic stainless steels (300 series) could be used.



Martensitic stainless steel is a hardenable stainless steel known for its excellent strength, wear resistance and moderate corrosion resistance. It can change its mechanical properties through heat treatment and is available in many grades. Typical grades are Cr13 type, such as 2Cr13, 3Cr13, 4Cr13, etc., which are commonly used in the manufacture of turbine blades, tableware, surgical instruments, etc. If distinguished according to differences in chemical composition, it can be divided into two categories: martensitic chromium steel and martensitic chromium-nickel steel. If distinguished according to differences in organizational structure, it can be divided into martensitic stainless steel, martensite and semi-austenitic (or semi-martensite) precipitation hardening stainless steel, and maraging stainless steel.


Duplex stainless steel

Duplex stainless steel is a stainless steel with a balanced microstructure of austenite and ferrite phases. It is typically composed of approximately 50% austenite and 50% ferrite. Duplex stainless steels, such as Grade 2205, combine excellent corrosion resistance with high strength and good weldability. They are widely used in industries such as chemical processing, oil and gas, and marine applications.


Precipitation hardened steel

Precipitation hardened (PH) steel, also known as age-hardened steel, is a type of steel that undergoes a heat treatment process to achieve high strength and hardness. Precipitation hardening stainless steel is divided into three categories: martensitic, semi-austenitic and austenitic according to the content of alloy elements. Precipitation hardening stainless steel has comprehensive properties such as high strength, high toughness, high corrosion resistance, high oxidation resistance, and excellent formability and weldability. This type of steel is widely used in the manufacture of aircraft casings, structural parts, missile pressure vessels and components, jet engine parts, springs, diaphragms, bellows, antennas, fasteners, measuring instruments, etc.



Sheet metal processing is the most common manufacturing process in modern processing. Mechanical parts processed from different common sheet metal manufacturing materials have different performance and service life. In the sheet metal processing industry, we are at a far leading level. Therefore, if you need sheet metal processing services, please contact us for a quotation. We provide professional quotation engineers to provide you with a free quotation service. Thank you for reading, looking forward to your letter.