50 grades of stainless steel


The BSSA has selected 50 Grades of Stainless Steel as its theme for 2014. Each week throughout the year, we will showcase one grade and illustrate the variety of corrosion resistant, mechanical and physical properties which determine its suitability for a wide range of applications.



420 1.4021/1.4028/1.4031/1.4034 S42000

Grade 420 is a “descendant” of the martensitic grade which was invented by Harry Brearley in Sheffield in 1913. It is a hardenable stainless steel used for its basic corrosion resistance, high strength and wear resistance.

Approximate Composition – 12% Cr (exact composition ranges vary between EN and ASTM standards). The EN system defines several grades which fit into 420 by narrow ranges of carbon content whilst the ASTM system defines 420 with 0.15% minimum carbon only.

This grade combines the following characteristics:

•    Basic corrosion resistance
•    High hardness and strength
•    Controlled balance of mechanical properties by hardening and tempering
•    High wear resistance
•    Cost effectiveness due to low chromium content and absence of nickel
•    Magnetic
•    Thermal expansion comparable to carbon steel
•    Not easy to weld

Typical applications include:

Cutlery blades, solids handling, surgical instruments, plastic moulding, drive shafts, bearings, gears, springs, conveying equipment, cargo handling, tools, seaweed driers.

420 is a great choice for basic corrosion resistance, good strength and wear resistance.

Find out more about the 50 Grades of Stainless Steel campaign

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British Stainless Steel Association (BSSA): registered in England and Wales as a private company limited by guarantee; registration no. 07547349