Re: Stainless Steel Grades
Medical grade is a rather loose term as you are suggesting, it doesn't have any real definition - it is mostly used by people who don't understand what they are saying and is commonly used in conjunction with "implant grade"
I suppose when someone says that a medical grade, what they are really saying is that it
1. is biocompatible for the intended use
2. fully traceable to it's raw constituants (i.e. is not made up from reprocessed metal)
3. has a certificate of conformity saying that it is a certain grade
In reality any steel grade can be used as long as it meets that material selection criteria, i.e. it has the necessary material properties and has biocompatibility studies validating it's use. Because of the biocompatibility studies, only a few steel grades are commonly used, 316L as you suggested or 316LVM is mainly used for implants (but can be used in instruments), alternatively 420 or 17-4PH is commonly used in instrumentation as it is harder.
You may want to take a look at:
ISO 5832:Metallic materials for surgical implants
Part 1: Wrought stainless steel
Part 9: Specification for high-nitrogen stainless steel
Last edited by pkost; 7th July 2011 at 11:16 AM.