England – 17/12/2011– The use of duplex stainless steel is growing beyond the petro-chemical industry
The oil and gas industries has relied on duplex steel to allow them to drill in deep water and transport what they extract to shore or waiting boats for decades now. It does not corrode, even in salt water, because of its low nickel and high chromium content. It is also twice as strong as normal steel.
Duplex stainless steel is a combination of austenite and ferrites usually a 50/50 mix but sometimes a 60/40 mix. It is called duplex because it is a combination of two materials.
Standard duplex contains 22% chromium, super duplex contains 25% and hyper duplex contains up to 33% chromium. It is these new forms of duplex steel that has led to wider use of this material over a larger range of industries.
Where Duplex Steel Is Used
Nowadays, duplex steel is used in the transport, chemical, nuclear, food, pharmaceutical and marine industries. It is used to make heat exchangers, pipes and tanks to carry chemicals, underwater pipelines and to make some marine parts. Even the food industry uses this great alloy. The fact that it does not corrode in acids makes it ideal for use by the pickling industry. In fact, the food industry is using it more and more for storage tanks. If there is no corrosion there is no risk that the food will be tainted in anyway.
For exactly the same reason the pharmaceutical industry is also turning to duplex steel. Many of the chemicals they use can corrode metal this then taints the finished drugs. Duplex steel does not corrode, and can even be used even at parts of the process where the materials used in the production of drugs are kept at high or low temperatures or under pressure.
SPM has seen demand for duplex stainless steel increase over the past decade, in particular stainless steel pipes. They expect this growth to continue in the near future and for the material to be used in new ways by even more industries than it is now.
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