Austenitic stainless steels
The austenitic iron-chromium-nickel grades represent 80% of the world market for stainless steel. Their face-centered cubic crystal structure gives them excellent ductility and toughness, from cryogenic temperatures to several hundred °C. Furthermore, these materials can be readily welded to give sound metallurgical joints, greatly facilitating their use. Depending on the intended application, i.e. on the required service properties, together with the conditions of implementation, a number of other alloys have been developed with specific property combinations. The principal applications are the storage and treatment of foodstuffs, collective catering and hospital equipment. They also constitute the standard materials for chemical engineering equipment and are widely employed for domestic utensils and appliances.