Will 310 Stainless Steel Work at 1000° C?

This question has been asked with variations of the grade and temperature, but the following principles still apply:

Consideration needs to be given to the environment in which the metal will operate Although Oxidation is the most important high temperature corrosion reaction there may be numerous others which may occur independently or synergistically, and they may be conveniently grouped as:

  • Carburisation
  • Nitridation
  • Sulfidation
  • Halogen corrosion
  • Molten metal corrosion
  • Molten salt corrosion
  • Low melting compound formation
  • Ash/salt deposit corrosion

The forgoing list illustrates the possible complexity of high temperature environments and the need to know the details before selecting a material.

The strength requirements of the metal at the operating temperate need to be taken in to account. Using the extreme to illustrate this: the strength parameters needed for components in a jet engine will be very different to those for a slowly rotating fan in a furnace. A priority when it comes to mechanical properties at room temperature are yield or proof stress, ultimate tensile stress and elongation. However, as temperature is increased, time at temperature becomes important as a result of a phenomenon known as creep. This results in the parameters of creep strength and creep rate and these are often used as guidelines when strength may be a determinant for metals at high temperature. For stainless steel, 500° C is the approximate temperature above which creep may become a mechanism for failure.

Returning to the specifics of 310 and 1000° C: there exist for comparative purposes tables that lists the stainless steel grades and their maximum recommended service temperatures in air. Such tables are useful but generally are LIMITED to:

  • Damage by oxidation in air only
  • There is no consideration of mechanical properties.

Reference to such a table indicates that in both continuous and intermittent service 310 stainless steel may be use at 1000° C in air without suffering catastrophic oxidation. The distinction between intermittent and continuous service is important.


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