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Last updateFri, 28 Apr 2017 4pm

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U.S. Economy Grew 0.7% in the First Quarter of 2017

Friday, 28 April 2017  |  Chris Guy

Real GDP in the U.S. fell short of expectations, increasing at an annual rate of 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017; this according to the advance esti...

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Industry Headlines

Mueller Water Products Reports 2017 Second Quarter Results

1 DAY AGO

For its fiscal second quarter ended March 31, 2017, Mueller Water Products’ net sales were up 1.3% to $199.7 million and net income was $73.3 million, or $0.45 per diluted share. Operating income from continuing operations was $10.9 million. The quarter's results included $68.6 million of income...

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Weir Group Reports First Quarter 2017 Results

1 DAY AGO

The Weir Group's first quarter input was 15% higher than the prior year period with good sequential growth primarily driven by increased activity levels in North American Oil & Gas and strong aftermarket orders in Minerals. Group-wide aftermarket orders were 21% higher than the prior year period w...

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Permian Basin Oil Production Continues to Increase

2 DAYS AGO

Crude oil production in the Permian Basin is expected to increase to an estimated 2.4 million barrels per day in May, based on estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration . Between January 2016 and March 2017, oil production in the Permian Basin increased in all but three months, even as...

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East Coast Refiners Eye Texas as Alternative to North Dakota

3 DAYS AGO

“Major U.S. East Coast refiners profited from railing hundreds of thousands of barrels of discounted Bakken crude to their plants daily from 2013 until 2015. But as more and more pipelines were built in North Dakota, the discount began to disappear, and so did the rail cars,” Reuters repor...

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U.S. Economy Grew 0.7% in the First Quarter of 2017

1 DAY AGO

Real GDP in the U.S. fell short of expectations, increasing at an annual rate of 0.7% in the first quarter of 2017; this according to the advance estimate just released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The 0.7% figure, down from 2.1% in the fourth quarter and 3.5% in the second half of 2016, and is...

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Survey Shows Small Business Confidence Increasing

2 DAYS AGO

The second annual Allstate/ Small Business Barometer finds increasing optimism and innovation among small business owners, despite the rising cost of doing business. Nine in 10 local entrepreneurs say the benefits of owning a business outweigh the challenges. This year’s Barometer found that, ...

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Wrong Alloy?

materials_q_and_a_graphicQ: My 316 stainless-steel valve is rusty and attracts a magnet. Did I get the wrong alloy?

 

A: Let's answer the second part of the question first. Forged 300-series stainless steels should be non-magnetic. However, cast versions of the 300-series stainless steels-such as CF8 (304), CF3 (304L), CF8M (316), CF3M (316L), CG8M (317), CG3M (317L), CF8C (347), etc.-are all formulated to contain some ferrite. The presence of ferrite makes the alloy less prone to cracking as the hot casting cools in the mold. Weld filler materials are also formulated to contain some ferrite for the same reason. The ferrite makes the material attract a magnet. The exact amount of ferrite, which influences the strength of magnetic attraction, is dependent on the exact chemical composition and the thermal history of the casting. In any event, CF3, CF8, CF3M, CF8M, CG3M, CG8M, and CF8C should all attract a magnet to some degree. In fact, if you have a casting in one of these alloys that doesn't attract a magnet, you should wonder whether something is wrong.

 

Now let's discuss the rusting portion of the question. While the term stainless steel implies that such an alloy is "stainless" or will not rust, the reality is that stainless-steel castings can exhibit a rusty appearance if not processed correctly. The rusty appearance is only superficial surface rust, i.e. iron oxide, and for most applications it is neither a problem nor an indication as to how the equipment will perform in service. However, there are some services where this surface rust is objectionable and special processing is necessary to make sure the stainless-steel castings are truly "stainless." Some of the industries where any rust is undesirable are food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and electronics.

Shot blasting is routinely used by foundries and forge shops to remove burned-in sand, core material, and scale that are formed during casting, forging, and/or heat-treating processes. Steel shot is normally used because it is the quickest and most economical cleaning abrasive. A slight amount of iron contamination remains on the surface of the stainless steel, and may later cause surface discoloration or rusting.

Sand blasting or grit blasting with various abrasives may also be used to clean castings and forgings. If the sand or abrasive was previously used on steel, it may contaminate the stainless-steel surface, which can result in rusting. Therefore, if sand or grit blasting is utilized, the sand or grit should either be new or only used previously for cleaning stainless-steel items.

Pickling, or the more technically correct term acid cleaning, is used to remove iron oxide that formed during the heat treatment of stainless steel or to remove free iron contamination that may have occurred from shot blasting, grit blasting, and/or grinding of stainless- steel castings or forgings. Normally, acid cleaning is only necessary for alloys that do not have sufficient chromium content to prevent oxidation of the surface during heat treatment, such as the 300-series stainless steels. The higher-chromium-content duplex stainless steels do not require acid cleaning unless they are to be used in one of the rust-sensitive industries mentioned above. Pickling is normally done as a last step before machining.

Passivation is the process by which a stainless steel will form a thin, invisible, chemically inactive surface when exposed to air or other oxygen-containing environments. At one time it was considered necessary to apply an oxidizing treatment to stainless steels in order to establish this protective oxide film. It is now accepted that this oxide film will form spontaneously in any oxygen-containing environment provided the surface has been thoroughly acid cleaned, i.e. pickled or descaled. This oxide film is the mechanism by which corrosion-resistant alloys achieve their corrosion resistance. Although a stainless steel is basically self passivating in any oxygen-containing environment, even air, some users of stainless-steel equipment still feel it is necessary to require a separate passivation treatment. If passivation is performed, it is generally done after finish machining.

Acid cleaning and passivation are covered by ASTM specifications A380 and A967. These specifications provide complete details on the acid cleaning and passivation of stainless steels as well as a variety of tests to measure the effectiveness of these processes, including simple wet-dry immersion tests to chemical testing for the detection of free iron. As with any special order requirement, there should be discussions between the manufacturer and customer up front so that everyone is in complete agreement on the processes to be used and how the results will be measured.

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