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Stainless Steels - Identification Tests

Magnetic, spark, hardness and acid identification tests for austenitic, martensitic and ferritic stainless steels.

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Stainless steels can be hard to identify. The different types can be distinguished by methods as

  • magnet testing
  • spark testing
  • hardness testing
  • acid testing

For full table with Sulfuric and Hydrochloric Acid Test - rotate the screen!

AISI TypeGradeGroupMagnet TestSpark TestHardness TestSulfuric Acid TestHydrochloric Acid Test
302 Chromium-
Austenitic Non-
Few forks - short, reddish >165 Brinell after heated to 1800oF and water quench Strong attack - green crystals and dark surface Rapid reaction - pale blue-green solution
303 Spoiled egg odor - heavy black smudge
303Se Garlic odor
304 Strong attack - green crystals and dark surface Fast attack - gas formation
308 Full red without many forks
316 Few forks - short, reddish Slow attack - tan surface turns brown Very slow attack
321 Fast attack - gas formation
410 Chromium Martensitic Magnetic Long white with few forks > 280 Brinell after heated to 1800oF and water quench Rapid reaction - dark green solution
416 Spoiled egg odor - heavy black smudge
416Se Garlic odor
420 Long white-red with burst
431 Long white with few forks
440 A, B, C Long white-red with burst
430 Ferritic Long white with few forks 180 - 250 Brinell after heated to 1800oF and water quench
430F Spoiled egg odor - heavy black smudge
430FSe Garlic odor
446 Full red without many forks
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