Magnetic Properties of Stainless Steel March 4th, 2015 - At Manasquan Premium Fasteners we often receive questions regarding the magnetic properties of stainless steel. Hopefully, the brief discussion that follows will provide answers to some of these.
1. Can Stainless Steel be Magnetic?
The simple answer is yes, however this is not a measure of quality or performance.
There is a common misconception that the best way to check if a fastener, or any item for that matter, is made out of stainless steel is to place a magnet next to it. Many people believe that if the magnet sticks, then the fastener is not stainless steel. This is not the case.
There are several different types of stainless steel that are used to manufacture commonly available fasteners, most notably “410” and “300” series.
Type 410 stainless will be strongly magnetic. Types 305 and 316 (marine grade), seldom exhibit magnetic properties.
Fasteners made of the other 300 series stainless that are classified as “18-8” types, e.g. 302, 303 & 304 may or may not exhibit magnetic properties. Therefore using the “refrigerator magnet test” is not a reliable or desirable test to determine the quality of the stainless.
2. What May Cause Stainless Steel Fasteners to be Magnetic?
There are two significant factors which may contribute to the magnetic properties of stainless steel.
To view a chart of composition specifications for the common types of stainless steel used for fastener production, click here: Composition Specifications
For more in-depth and technical information there are a number of easily searchable web links available on the internet.
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