Gerber Bowie Knives
The three main types of stainless steels are austenitic, ferritic, and martensitic. These three types of steels are identified by their microstructure or predominant crystal phase.
Austenitic. Also known as 'series-300' steel Austenitic steels have austenite as their primary phase (face centered cubic crystal).These are alloys containing chromium and nickel (sometimes manganese and nitrogen), structured around the Type 302 composition of iron, 18% chromium, and 8% nickel. Austenitic steels are not magnetic and not hardenable by heat treatment. The most familiar stainless steel is 304 containing 18-20% chromium and 8-10% nickel
Martensitic. Also known as 'series-400' steel. Martensitic steels have orthorhombic martensite as their main phase. Martensitic steels are low carbon steels. They are magnetic, and may be tempered and hardened. Martensite gives steel great hardness, but it also reduces its toughness and makes it brittle.
Ferritic. Ferritic steels have ferrite (body centered cubic crystal) as their main phase. These steels contain iron and chromium. Ferritic steel is somewhat magnetic, less ductile than austenitic steel, and is not hardenable by heat treatment. Types of applications include automotive trim and architectural cladding.