Materials selection for any piece of equipment or a process system is rarely a simple task, unless you are exactly replicating something successful. Often engineers will have a checklist to help them narrow down the choices, eliminating groups of materials that are not suitable for various reasons. Austenitic 300 series stainless steels containing 7-35% nickel will have most if not all of the boxes checked for being suitable where a stainless steel is desired.
Think of the largest cruise ship. Then imagine how much it weighs – just over 100,000 tonnes, in fact. Now think about 500 of those ships, and what they weigh. That is the staggering amount of new electronic waste that we generate every year.
Even small quantities of nickel in an application can make a big difference to successful deployment.
Most nickel production is destined for stainless steel. But a significant 8% is used in the production of alloy steels which are needed to deliver specific characteristics for specialised and often critical applications.