For many industrial products, the chances are that, at some point, they will need to be heated up. Typical examples are power generation, materials production e.g. metals, glass, cement, chemicals, waste incineration, furnace linings and gas burners. The operating temperature can be anything from 100 to 1200°C and the environmental conditions include: oxidising, reducing, carburising, sulphidising, liquid metals and vacuum. Stainless steels play their part in these high temperature applications largely due to the same passive chromium oxide layer that provides resistance to corrosion at normal temperatures.
For these applications, the most beneficial elements are chromium, nickel, silicon, aluminium and cerium. Typical grades are 310 (1.4845), 309 (1.4833), 253MA® (1.4835). At the upper end of the temperature range, the nickel base alloys take over. Indeed, a grade such as RA330® (1.4886) is classed as such in the USA (N08330).
Good mechanical properties at high temperatures provide a winning combination.