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Different types of stainless steel and sheet metal applications

There are countless types of metals and alloys, from stainless steel metal to aluminium and numerous grades of carbon steel. Different types of metals are fabricated in distinctive ways dependent on the intended application. Factors to consider typically include formability, weldability, corrosion resistance, strength, weight and cost.

Here is our quick guide to the different types of stainless steel and sheet metals.

Stainless steel

There are countless variations of stainless steel metals, each stainless steel alloy having its own unique properties for tensile strength, melting point and corrosion resistance. While there are thousands of different alloys, they can be broken down into three broad categories: austenitic, ferritic and martensitic. 

Austenitic stainless steels

Austenitic stainless steels are by far the most frequently used stainless steel metals. They tend to have high chromium content, meaning that they have higher corrosion resistance than martensitic and ferritic stainless steels.

Ferritic stainless steels

As the name suggests, ferritic stainless steel is magnetic. They are the second most common form of application used for welding stainless steel. A benefit is that they also tend to be less expensive in comparison to other stainless steel metals due to their reduced nickel content.

Martensitic stainless steels

The least common type of stainless steel metal is martensitic as they have a lower corrosion resistance compared to other stainless steel. They are, however, renowned for their hardness, being used for applications that require extraordinarily high tensile strength and impact resistance. 


Applications made from aluminium fabrication are very common as the material is regarded as a malleable and elastic application. It has a noticeably high strength to weight ratio and the corrosion resistance of aluminium is always a huge plus. Aluminium is also a good conductor of both heat and electricity. 

Mild or low carbon steel

Mild or low carbon steel contains between 0.14% – 0.20% carbon, due to its low carbon content the material is very easy to fabricate. It is considerably more malleable than stainless and typically cheaper too. Notably, the material demonstrates both ductility and great heat transfer.

High carbon steel

High carbon steel is an alloy that comprises between 0.60% – 2.5% carbon, consequently, the material has increased hardness. It is more durable than aluminium and stainless, renowned for its resistance to warping and deforming.  St Clair Sheetmetal are the sheet metal fabrication experts, specialising in the stainless steel fabrication of residential and commercial kitchens. We service clients throughout Queensland and Australia with their own custom kitchen design and products from bars and bench work, shelving and exhaust canopies to outdoor BBQ areas and balustrades for decks. Contact our team today on (07) 5456 2711 to arrange a free quote.

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