410 Stainless Steel: Uses, Composition, Properties
410 stainless steel is a general-purpose martensitic material containing at least 11.5% chromium and a generally elevated carbon content compared with many other stainless steels. This makes a moderately machinable/formable stainless steel of relatively low cost, because of the reduced use of higher-value alloying agents. This configuration provides good corrosion resistance in non-aggressive conditions such as non-acid water and wet air exposure. The corrosion resistance of 410 stainless steels can be enhanced by hardening, tempering, and polishing. The grade is generally used for applications demanding moderate corrosion resistance, moderate heat tolerance, and high strength. This article will discuss what 410 stainless steel is, its uses, composition, and properties.
410 stainless steel is a popular type of stainless steel that belongs to the martensitic family. It is primarily composed of iron (Fe) and contains around 11.5–13.5% chromium (Cr). It is often referred to as "general-purpose" stainless steel due to its versatility and wide range of applications. For more information, see our how is carbon steel made guide.
410 stainless steel has wide applications across most product sectors, specifically for its good corrosion resistance, hardness, high strength, and heat resistance. Some examples are listed below:
- It is particularly well suited to making knife blades, scissors, and other kitchen utensils.
- The material finds various industrial applications such as valves, pumps, pipe fittings, and parts for petroleum refining and chemical processing equipment.
- It is used in firearm barrels and other components.
- It is also utilized extensively for fasteners, screws, bolts, nuts, and other hardware/fixing applicationS.
- It is suitable for steam turbine blades in direct force and power generation applications.
- It is suited to forming springs, spring and Belleville washers, and other components that use its high elastic modulus and strength.
410 stainless steel is manufactured by melting-refining in an electric arc furnace with reducing agents that purify the melt. This is followed up with hot working and heat treatment. The general steps are listed below:
- The raw materials such as steel, chromium, carbon, and other alloying elements, are liquified in an electric arc, or alternatively an induction furnace. For the highest grades, this is done under a vacuum. The melting process reduces oxides and contaminants and creates a floating slag of impurities.
- Once ready, the melt is poured into casts to form ingots.
- The ingots are later reheated and hot worked to primary shapes through forging, rolling, or sometimes extrusion.
- The shaped products are then annealed to relieve residual internal stresses from the initial forming. This helps to improve ductility and workability.
- Raw material finishing processes can include hot rolling, cold rolling, and further stages of annealing or heat treatment, depending on the required properties of the finished stock.
- 410 stainless steel stock materials may then undergo a variety of finishing operations to deliver the precise properties required. These can include grinding, polishing, and/or surface treatments to achieve the desired dimensions and surface finish.
410 Stainless steel is mostly made up of iron. The rest of its chemical composition is shown in Table 1 below:
11.5 to 13.5%
0.75% or less
1.0% or less
1.0% or less
0.03% or less
0.04% or less
410 stainless steels have around 0.1% carbon content. It has a higher carbon content than some mild steels, contributing to higher strength and reduced ductility. The general range of 0.08–0.15% is much less than that of medium-carbon steels which have 0.30-0.60% carbon.
The properties of 410 stainless steel vary considerably for variants of 410 stainless steel tempered in different ways. Listed below in Table 2 are the property for typical examples within the range resulting from condition/ temper:
1,225 MPa at a strain of 0.2%
Ultimate Tensile Strength
126–192 Brinell hardness (annealed condition) 201–255 Brinell hardness (when hardened and tempered)
Good corrosion resistance in mild atmospheric environments, water, and some mild chemical environments. It shows pitting corrosion and brown staining in salt water conditions and offers lower resistance to acidic environments than the austenitic stainless steel alternatives.
Permeability 700–1,000. Highly responsive to magnetic fields, act as a strong magnetic flux carrier due to its martensitic structure.
Yes, 410 stainless steel is magnetic as it is made from martensite. It is highly attracted to magnets and carries magnetic flux very well, with a field permeability of 700–1,000.
410 stainless steel is generally considered to be moderately machinable, at 55% for a 12% chromium alloy. The ease with which a material can be machined or shaped using various cutting processes is affected by the carbon content of the steel and by its work-hardened or quench-hardened/temper state. It is classified as a harder material to machine than the austenitic stainless steel grades 304 or 316. Higher carbon content contributes to its increased hardness, which results in tool wear and poorer chip formation. It's worth noting that the machinability of 410 stainless steel is heavily influenced by its heat treatment condition. It is recommended to consult with tool manufacturers and experienced machine operators for the best practices.
The thermal conductivity of 410 stainless steel is relatively low, ranging from 24 to 27 W/mK at room temperature. Its CTE is in the range of 9.9 to 11.0 x 10-6/°C between 0–100 °C. The specific heat of 410 stainless steel is approximately 460 J/kgK. 410 stainless steel has a maximum service temperature of between 400 and 580 °C after which the material’s mechanical properties degrade rapidly. The minimum service temperature is around -70 °C due to carbon content causing embrittlement at lower temperatures.
Heat treating of 410 stainless steel is typical hot quenching and tempering, appropriate to most medium-carbon steels. This elevates hardness, strength through hardening, and toughness and elasticity through tempering. The general process is listed below:
- Preheat the material to 760–815 °C.
- Once heated, quickly quench in oil, water, or for lesser effect air. This freezes the hot microstructure of the steel, maintaining the fine crystallinity present in the heated material. Oil quenching provides a slower cooling rate compared to water, reducing the risk of cracking or distortion but reducing the hardness. For maximum hardness, the more rapid cooling of water quenching is necessary. More complex parts and parts with very variable cross-sections can distort the quenching effect, as relative cooling rates affect thermal contraction. Parts with internal defects—more common in forgings or castings—can also fracture during quenching. Air quenching is the slowest cooling option and is only suited to smaller parts. This can result in limited hardening, as the cooling time is such that greater crystal growth occurs.
- After quenching, the stainless steel is typically brittle and liable to have internal residual stresses. Tempering relieves internal stresses and improves the toughness, elastic limit, and ductility of the material. The tempering temperatures are between 150–370 °C depending on the degree of temper required—on items as diverse as springs to blade edges, for example. The tempering temperature determines the degree of hardness retained—lower tempering temperatures result in more hardness and higher temperatures in more toughness. Using a tempering furnace, hold the steel at the selected temperature for a sufficient time to allow for complete tempering. The time depends on the thickness of the component and the required characteristics. After the tempering period has passed, allow the part to air cool.
410 stainless steel is available in various sections and forms, to suit a spectrum of manufacturing and fabrication needs. These common forms are listed below:
This designates a flat profile, cut sheet material of 0.5 to 3.5 mm thickness. This can be supplied either hot-rolled or cold-rolled. The cold rolled sheet will be stiffer and harder, as it has been work hardened in the finishing process.
Sheet edges can be specified as full round (a result of the rolling process), skived (beveled off in a single pass cut), or slit (generally roller cut to a square edge). A full round is only available on the as-rolled edges. The sheet is the cut-off result of long rolled sections and the cross-cut faces will not be round/as rolled.
410 stainless steel can be round, hexagonal, strip, or come in specialist profiles. The profile shapes are achieved by either hot or cold rolling, depending on the degree of hardness required. Bars can also have complex profiles rolled into them, making variable cross-sections or irregular (asymmetric) profiles.
Plate has the same basic specification as a sheet, but greater thickness. There is no definitive thickness at which the change in nomenclature occurs, although in general thicknesses over 2–3 mm are considered as “plate” rather than “sheet”.
Hot rolling is the sizing process used to reduce billet/ingot to the required thickness for follow-on processing. Hot rolling produces relatively high thickness variations and tends to make a blue/black surface finish that shows some degree of imperfections. Hot rolled material will be finished annealed/normalized and will be the lowest strength form of the alloy.
Cold rolling is a gauging/finishing process that is applied after approximate sizing by hot rolling. The result will be a more precise thickness and better surface finish. The material will also display a degree of work hardening that will vary according to the degree of dimensional change imposed in cold working.
Annealed material is that which is supplied with no cold work or heat treatment applied to it. The material has been allowed to slowly cool from red hot. This enables maximum crystal growth to occur as the cooling progresses. Larger crystals produce a material with low internal stresses, the “native” strength of the material, and maximum ductility. This form is most appropriate for heavy forming processes that are expected to be performed coldly.
Cold drawn material will undergo a cold pull process through a die, to deliver a more precise dimensional result and a higher degree of work hardening. This increases the strength and hardness and reduces the ductility of the resulting material. High residual stresses and potential for brittleness will result in the most cold-worked material.
There are several stainless steel grades that are considered equivalent or similar to 410 stainless steel, controlled by a range of regional, national, and industry-specific regulatory and specifying authorities. Some examples of these are listed below in Table 3:
JIS SUS 410
AISI 420 (close grade)
Using 410 stainless steel brings various advantages to suit particular applications.
- Provides good corrosion resistance in mildly corrosive environments, normal atmospheric conditions, non-salt water, and most chemicals/solvents.
- It offers relatively high tensile strength and hardness when compared to other stainless steel grades.
- Due to its hardness, 410 stainless steel offers excellent wear resistance.
- It has good heat resistance, allowing it to maintain its mechanical properties at moderately elevated temperatures.
- While 410 stainless steel is only a moderately machinable material, with the appropriate tools and techniques good results can be achieved.
- It is relatively low cost, compared to most other stainless steel grades, because of its lower alloy content.
- 410 stainless steel responds well to heat treatment. This allows great adaptation of mechanical properties, according to application.
While 410 stainless steel offers several advantages, there are also some disadvantages to consider.
- While 410 stainless steel exhibits good corrosion resistance in mildly corrosive environments, it is unsuited to aggressive or highly corrosive environments. It suffers from pitting corrosion and chloride ion-related stress corrosion cracking (SCC).
- It suffers from relatively poor weldability, compared to other stainless steel grades. With appropriate pre- and post-weld treatments, good results can be achieved by skilled personnel.
- 410 stainless steel becomes increasingly brittle as the temperature falls, with lowered toughness and impact resistance in sub-zero or cryogenic environments.
- While 410 stainless steel has good heat resistance, it is not as resistant to scaling and oxidation as some other stainless steel grades.
- It suffers from limited formability, compared to the austenitic stainless steels, so it is poorly suited to forming complex shapes.
- 410 Stainless steel is a magnetic material, which can be a limitation in sensing and medical applications.
410 stainless steel and 304 stainless steel have distinct differences in composition, properties, and applications. 410 stainless steel is martensitic, containing 11.5–13.5% chromium, which provides corrosion resistance, and minimal to zero nickel (0–0.75%). It also contains small amounts of carbon, manganese, phosphorus, and sulfur. 304 stainless steel, on the other hand, is an austenitic stainless steel containing 18–20% chromium and 8–10.5% nickel. It has a lower carbon content (max 0.08%) compared to 410 stainless steel, with trace amounts of manganese, silicon, phosphorus, and sulfur.
410 stainless steel provides good corrosion resistance, but only in mild or non-corrosive environments, such as atmospheric conditions and non-salt water. It is very susceptible to pitting and fracture corrosion in moderate chloride environments. 304 stainless steel has excellent corrosion resistance in a wide range of environments, including corrosive chemicals, acids, and saltwater. It is highly resistant to corrosion and staining. 410 stainless steel has high strength, impact resistance, and hardness which can all be improved by traditional heat treatment methods. 304 stainless steel offers lower strength and hardness compared to 410 alloys but has higher ductility and toughness, better elongation at break, and less brittle behavior than 410 stainless steel.
"18/8 stainless steel" is not a precise stainless steel grade, but a commonly used descriptor referring to a stainless steel alloy that contains approximately 18% chromium and 8% nickel. This alloy is most similar to AISI 304 stainless steel.
410 stainless steel and A2 stainless steel differ in their composition, mechanical properties, and applications. 410 stainless steel is formed from martensite crystalline structures and consists of 11.5–13.5% chromium, traces of nickel (0–0.75%), and the remainder primarily iron. It contains low levels of carbon, manganese, phosphorus, and sulfur and no measurable quantity of molybdenum. A2, on the other hand, is a group of austenitic stainless steels that include AISI 304 and closely related alloys. A2 stainless steel contains around 17–19% chromium, 8–10.5% nickel, and 2–3% molybdenum. It also contains small amounts of carbon, manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, and silicon.
This article presented 410 stainless steel, explained it, and discussed its composition and properties. To learn more about 410 stainless steel, contact a Xometry representative.
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