Uses of duplex steel in the mining industry

26 November 2018

Steel has many applications in the mining industry because it is inexpensive and strong, but lightweight, corrosion-resistant, durable, and sustainable. Tools, drill rigs, demolition equipment, grinding media, and several other equipment are made of steel because steel is able to withstand harsh and abrasive mine environments.

Most mine site structural components are built using steel. But without expensive protective coating, structural steel is susceptible to corrosion. According to the International Molybdenum Association web site, there is a growing interest in using duplex stainless steels as a building and construction design material because of their unique characteristics: higher strength than carbon steel and a high level of corrosion resistance for the price relative to austenitic (300-series) stainless steels. In many cases, SS is cost-effective if the whole life cycle of the installation is considered. The site also describes the use of duplex stainless steel to make wireline cable, used to lower oil- and gas-well tools and measuring equipment downhole. Wireline must be strong, dependable and resistant to the increasingly corrosive conditions encountered in today’s deeper wells. Molybdenum imparts the required corrosion resistance to the stainless steel and nickel alloys used in this application.

Duplex stainless steel is a composite of austenitic and ferritic steels, and typically contains 22-25% chromium and 5% nickel with molybdenum and nitrogen. Duplex steels are both strong and flexible and are also used in the paper, pulp, shipbuilding, and petrochemical industries. Newer duplex grades are being developed for a broader range of applications.

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