400 Series Stainless

400 Series Stainless

400 Series Stainless The 400 series group of stainless steels has an 11 percent chromium and 1-percent manganese increase, above the 300 series group. The 400 series is susceptible to rust and corrosion under some conditions. Heat-treating will harden the 400 series. The 400 series of stainless...
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400 Series Stainless

The 400 series group of stainless steels has an 11 percent chromium and 1-percent manganese increase, above the 300 series group. The 400 series is susceptible to rust and corrosion under some conditions. Heat-treating will harden the 400 series. The 400 series of stainless steels have higher carbon content, giving it a martensitic crystalline structure. This provides high strength and high wear resistance. Martensitic stainless steels aren’t as corrosion resistant as the austenitic types.


The 400 series includes both ferritic and martensitic steels.

Ferritic steels: non-hardening steels, ideal for conditions in elevated temperatures. Typical applications for ferritic stainless steels include petrochemical, automotive exhaust systems, heat exchanges, furnaces, appliances and food equipment to name a few.

Martensitic steels: able to be hardened, ideal for a wide variety of common uses. Martensitic stainless steels are used extensively in cutlery, sport knives and multi-purpose tools.


The table below shows common types of 400 series steel:

400 Series Applications

405

a ferritic steel, used especially for welding applications

408

heat-resistant; poor corrosion resistance; 11% chromium, 8% nickel.

409

cheapest type; used for automobile exhausts; ferritic (iron/chromium only).

410

martensitic (high-strength iron/chromium). Wear-resistant, but less corrosion-resistant.

416

easy to machine due to additional sulfur

420

Cutlery Grade martensitic; Excellent polishability.

430

decorative steel, used for automotive trim; ferritic. Good formability, but with reduced temperature and corrosion resistance.

440

a higher grade of cutlery steel, with more carbon in it, which allows for much better edge retention when the steel is heat-treated properly.

446

For elevated temperature service


Advantages and Characteristics of 400 Series Stainless Steel

Ferritic, or nonhardenable stainless steels, are classified in the 400 series. This series is known for:

  • superior corrosion resistance

  • resistance to scaling at elevated temperatures

  • inherent strength greater than carbon steels

  • provide an advantage in many applications where thinner materials and reduced weight are necessary

  • nonhardenable by heat treating

  • always magnetic


Martensitic, or hardenable stainless steels, are classified in the 400 series. This series is known for:

  • higher levels of carbon than ferritics

  • ability to be heat treated to a wide range of hardness and strength levels

  • excellent corrosion resistance

  • easily machined

  • good ductility


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