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When to Use Stainless Steel for a Pressure Vessel

Stainless steel is often an economical, easily-machined option for a pressure vessel material, but there’s a lot to consider when choosing your materials. Is stainless steel the best option for your project? What other options are out there?

What materials are used for pressure vessels?

The most commonly used materials for pressure vessels are stainless steel and carbon steel. Stainless steel is a type of iron, carbon, and chromium alloy with other elements added to increase the corrosion resistance and other properties. You can read more about stainless steel and pressure vessels here.

Carbon steel has a higher carbon content than stainless, and doesn’t have the same amount of chromium as stainless, if any is added at all. It’s a broad category of steels, but for the most part, carbon steels are less corrosion resistant, harder, and less ductile than stainless steels.

Which option is right for my project?

To figure out which material you’ll want, you’ll first need to understand your project requirements and priorities. Some questions to consider are below:

  • What environment will my vessel be located in?
  • What will be inside my vessel?
  • Is corrosion resistance a critical factor?
  • How long am I planning to use my vessel?
  • How important is the vessel cost?

Your project might have other things to consider, but this can get you started.

When to use carbon steel

Carbon steel is usually less expensive than stainless steel per pound, so it can be a good option for vessels where corrosion resistance is not a concern.

When to use stainless steel

If you’re planning a project where corrosion is a critical factor, either due to the environment, the vessel’s contents, or the length of time the vessel is planning to be used, stainless is often a better choice than carbon steel.

Where to get a carbon or stainless steel pressure vessel

Rexarc designs and manufactures custom carbon and stainless steel pressure vessels using over a century of experience in industry. We’re happy to talk to you about your project and what you might want to consider when looking for a pressure vessel, or answer any other questions you might have.



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