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304 Stainless Steel

304 stainless steel is a type of stainless steel alloy that contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. The “18/8” designation refers to the composition of chromium and nickel in the alloy. These two elements provide the alloy with its excellent corrosion resistance properties, making it suitable for use in a wide range of applications.

304 stainless steel

304 Stainless Steel

304 Stainless Steel accounts for more than 50% of all stainless steel production.

One of the most versatile and commonly used stainless steels available, Type 304 stainless steel is the most widely used alloy of this type. We stock both Type 304 and Type 304L stainless steel in Bar, Wire, Sheet, Strip, and Billets.

Type 304 has excellent welding and deep drawing properties, making it ideal for fabrication, and easy to clean and its aesthetically pleasing looks make it ideal for many applications. Contact us today for the best prices.

If you are looking for Type 304 stainless steel for your next project, contact us today for the best prices. We have a wide range of sizes, shapes, and forms of Type 304 stainless steel available, and our knowledgeable staff can help you choose the right product for your specific application.

304 Stainless Steel Properties and Specifications

The high chromium content in 304 stainless steel (18%) promotes excellent resistance to corrosion and oxidation. The chromium creates a passive film on the surface of the steel that acts as a barrier, protecting the metal from exposure to oxygen and other elements that can cause corrosion.

This makes it an ideal choice for applications that require resistance to rust, staining, and discoloration.

However, it’s worth noting that while the alloy resists most oxidizing acids and will withstand ordinary rusting, it’s not completely immune to tarnishing over time, especially when exposed to harsh environments.

Regular cleaning and maintenance can help to minimize tarnishing and prolong the life of 304 stainless steel.

  • 304 stainless steel is basically the same as Type 302 except for a higher chromium and lower carbon content. Its lower carbon minimizes chromium carbide precipitation due to welding and its susceptibility to intergranular corrosion.
  • Its lower carbon minimizes chromium carbide precipitation due to welding and its susceptibility to intergranular corrosion.
  • In many instances, Type 304 can be used in the “as welded” condition while Type 302 must be annealed in order to retain adequate corrosion resistance.
  • Type 304 has the same excellent combination of strength, corrosion resistance, and workability as Type 302, and it costs the same. Consequently, this type is widely used and is more popular than type 302.

Types 304 and 304L stainless steel are available in:

  • Bar
  • Wire
  • Sheet
  • Strip
  • Billets
  • Type 304L is an extra low carbon variation of Type 302. The .03% maximum carbon content eliminates carbide precipitation due to welding.
  • Consequently, the alloy can be used in the “as welded” condition even in severe corrosive conditions. In many cases, it eliminates the necessity of annealing weldments except for applications where stress relief is specified.
  • Type 304L has slightly lower mechanical properties than Type 304.

Sheets and Plates

  • MIL-S-5059
  • AMS 5513
  • ASTM A 167
  • ASTM A 240

Bars, Wire, and Billets

  • MIL-S-7720
  • QQ-S-763
  • AMS A 276
  • ASTM A 276
  • ASTM A 479

What is 304 Stainless Steel?

304 stainless steel is a type of stainless steel alloy that contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. It is also known as “18/8” stainless steel, referring to its composition of 18% chromium and 8% nickel.

This alloy is known for its excellent corrosion resistance, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. It is non-toxic, non-allergenic, and easy to clean, making it ideal for use in the kitchen and food processing industry.

In addition to its corrosion resistance, 304 stainless steel is also known for its strength, durability, and formability, making it suitable for use in construction, automotive, marine, chemical processing, and oil and gas industry.

The high chromium content in the alloy creates a passive film on the surface of the steel that acts as a barrier, protecting the metal from exposure to oxygen and other elements that can cause corrosion.

This makes it an ideal choice for applications that require resistance to rust, staining, and discoloration.

History of 304 Stainless Steel

The history of 304 stainless steel dates back to the early 1900s. In 1913, the British metallurgist Harry Brearley was trying to develop a rust-resistant alloy for gun barrels when he discovered a stainless steel alloy that contained 18% chromium and 8% nickel.

This alloy, now known as 304 stainless steel, exhibited excellent corrosion resistance and strength, and was named “Type 304” by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) in the 1920s.

During the 1930s, 304 stainless steel began to be used in a variety of industrial and consumer applications. Its corrosion resistance made it popular for use in the food processing and chemical industries, while its strength and durability made it suitable for use in construction and transportation.

During World War II, the demand for 304 stainless steel increased significantly as it was used for a variety of military applications, including in tanks and ships. After the war, its popularity continued to grow as it was used in a wide range of consumer goods, such as kitchen appliances and automotive parts.

Uses for 304 Stainless Steel

One of the most widely used stainless steel alloys in the world. Its popularity is due to its excellent corrosion resistance, strength, durability, and formability, which makes it suitable for a wide range of applications.

Today, 304 stainless steel is used in a variety of industries, including construction, marine, oil and gas, and consumer goods.

Food Processing

304 stainless steel is an ideal choice for food processing equipment because it is non-toxic and non-allergenic, making it safe for use with food products. Its corrosion resistance makes it an ideal choice for conveyor belts, mixing tanks, and equipment exposed to acidic foods and liquids.

Medical

304 stainless steel is widely used in the medical industry for its non-toxic and non-allergenic properties. Its high corrosion resistance also makes it an ideal choice for various surgical instruments such as; dental equipment, and other medical devices that must be sterilized on a regular basis.

Construction

304 stainless steel is a popular choice in construction due to its durability, aesthetics, and resistance to corrosion. Structural supports, handrails, and several other building components are often made of 304 stainless steel to ensure they will last for many years to come with minimal maintenance.

Marine

304 stainless steel is an ideal choice for marine applications because of its resistance to corrosion in saltwater environments. It is commonly used for marine hardware, such as cleats, chocks, and other deck hardware, as well as for marine structural components, such as shafts and propellers.

Kitchen Equipment

Often used in the manufacture of kitchen equipment because it is non-toxic, non-allergenic, and easy to clean. Its corrosion resistance makes it a popular choice for sinks, pots, pans, and other kitchen equipment, as it can withstand regular exposure to water and acids.

Automotive Industry

Type 304 steel is commonly used in the automotive industry for exhaust systems, trim, and other components due to its durability, resistance to heat and corrosion. This alloy can withstand the high temperatures and harsh conditions found in a vehicle's engine.

Chemical Processing

304 stainless steel is a popular choice in the chemical processing industry due to its high corrosion resistance. Type 304 steel is often used in the storage of corrosive chemicals, as well as in the manufacturing of chemical processing equipment such as tanks, pipes, and valves.

Oil and Gas Industry

304 stainless steel is used in the oil and gas industry for a variety of components, including pumps, valves, and wellhead equipment, due to its corrosion resistance. The harsh conditions found in the oil and gas industry make it important to have equipment that can withstand corrosion.

Type 304 Composition & Properties

Properties

Type 304%

Carbon

.08 max

Manganese

2.00 max

Phosphorus

.045 max

Sulfur

.030 max

Silicon

1.00 max

Chromium

18.0 – 20.0

Nickel

8.0 – 12.0

Type 304L Composition & Properties

Properties

Type 304L%

Carbon

.03 max

Manganese

2.00 max

Phosphorus

.045 max

Sulfur

.030 max

Silicon

1.00 max

Chromium

18.0 – 20.0

Nickel

8.0 – 12.0

304 Stainless Steel Properties

Properties

Sheet & Strip

Bar & Wire

Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi

85,000

85,000

.2% Yield strength, psi

35,000

35,000

Elongation, % om 2″

55

60

Rockwell Hardness

B80

B80

Reduction of area %

NA

70

Impact Strength, Izod V Notch, ft-lbs

NA

100-120

Endurance Limit, psi

NA

34,000

304L Stainless Steel

Properties

Sheet & Strip

Bar & Wire

Ultimate Tensile Strength, psi

80,000

80,000

.2% Yield strength, psi

30,000

30,000

Elongation, % om 2″

55

60

Rockwell Hardness

N75

B75

Reduction of area %

NA

70

Impact Strength, Izod V Notch, ft-lbs

NA

100-120

Endurance Limit, psi

NA

34,000