Fasteners hold our world together by keeping objects held in place. Fasteners can be found in a wide range of applications, from fixing a door to a frame to securing the various flight components of an airplane. There are many different types of fasteners, including but not limited to, screws, bolts, nuts, pins, clips, and rivets. The choice of which type of fastener to use will depend on the specific requirements of the application, such as the materials being joined, the forces that will be applied, and the environmental conditions in which the fastener will be used. While cheap steel is fine for most disposable components, choosing the right stainless-steel fasteners can make or break some applications. So why choose the expensive alloyed steel over a carbon or tool steel?
When selecting a fastener, one of the key decisions is the material it is made from. Different materials have different properties that make them more or less suitable for different applications. Some of the most common materials used for fasteners include steel, stainless steel, brass, aluminum, and nylon. Each of these materials has its own unique set of characteristics that make it well suited for certain types of applications. We will be exploring some of the more common types of fasteners made from steel.
Steel, as a low carbon low alloy iron base, is perhaps the most common material used for fasteners. It is strong, durable, and relatively inexpensive. Steel has low resistance to corrosion, making it less suitable for use in harsh, outdoor environments. Steel is often found rusted in outdoor applications. If you’ve had to cut a bolt out of a frame, then there’s a good chance that it was a low alloy steel. However, there are many different types of steel that can be used for fasteners, including carbon steel, tool steel, and high alloyed steels.
Carbon steel is the most common type and is suitable for most general-purpose applications such as around the home or in the workshop. Tool steel is a specialized type of steel that is specifically designed for use in tools and other applications where high levels of hardness and wear resistance are required. Tool steel is relatively low alloyed often with vanadium, tungsten, molybdenum, or other elements to enhance its strength and hardness, as well as some chromium for corrosion. Alloyed steel, also known stainless steel, is a stronger, more expensive option that is often used in high-stress applications, such as in the construction of bridges or in the aerospace industry.
Stainless steel, also known as Corrosion Resistant Steel (CRES), is the popular material used for fasteners in most general industrial applications. Stainless is similar to regular steel, but the addition of varying alloys helps to enhance particular properties of corrosion resistance and enhances the range of usage. Stainless steels contain a higher percentage of chromium, which gives it additional corrosion resistance over typical steel. This makes it a good choice for use in the outdoors or other corrosive environments. Stainless steel fasteners are more expensive than regular steel fasteners, but they are also more durable and have a longer lifespan that can provide a better cost option in the long run.
When it comes to the best stainless fasteners used in high stress applications, Nitronic 60, or alloy N60 (UNS S21800), is a great option due to its cold working capability, galling resistance, and no magneticity. N60 is a type of nitrogen strengthened stainless steel that can be offered as high strength through cold working. Not only is N60 easily cold worked for elevated mechanical properties, N60 works in cold environments such as cryo chambers and can resist elevated temperatures up to around 1800 deg Fahrenheit. N60 also excels in corrosion resistance compared to Type 304 and pitting resistance better than Type 316. The addition of silicone to the chemistry of N60 allows for some of the best anti galling, non-seizing capabilities commercially available in corrosion resistant stainless steels and is comparable to wear resistant cobalt alloys.
When your projects begin to require high alloyed metals such as high cobalt or nickel, you’re likely going to quickly look for less expensive options. While N60 is more expensive than typical alloyed steel, N60 is generally cheaper than the alloys with expensive processing costs that it often replaces. N60 is far more commercially available than many of the expensive alloys that an engineer may recommend. N60 works best for most applications that require the most extreme needs to be met due to its availability and ability to be cold worked for enhanced mechanical properties. That is why a large portion of the N60 we sell is cold worked to high strength that is then used in aerospace and defense projects.
When it comes to choosing the right fastener for your job, don’t cheap out on fasteners to merely get the job done. Get the job done right with alloy N60, so when you need to make a repair, your fastener won’t fail and seize into place. N60 is the commercially available option to enhance your stainless-steel fastening applications. From bridge pins to actuators, N60 is an excellent option to ensure your application succeeds.
For more information on Nitronic 60, please see Electralloy’s brochure and visit our website hpalloys.com.