The Most Versatile Grades In Stainless Steel – 304 Stainless Steel

by Shruti Upadhyay

Posted on October 28, 2021 at 16:05 PM

304 stainless steel grade

This article provides a brief overview of AISI 304 Stainless Steel, a type of stainless steel found in a wide range of applications including engineering and surface treatment. This grade of stainless steel is most attractive from the point of view of its excellent corrosion resistance properties as well as its high-temperature strength.


Chromium is the primary alloying element other than ferrous in stainless steel. Oxygen and chromium combine to produce a protective coating around the metal, keeping it safe from the elements. Chromium is found in stainless steel at a minimum of 10.5 percent. At room temperature, stainless steel is split into five categories depending on the metal's internal structure, with more than 150 different grades to choose from. The five varieties of stainless steel are austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, duplex, and precipitation-hardened. Stainless steel usage is dominated by austenitic grades, which account for around 70% of overall consumption. The BCC structure of austenitic stainless steel makes them non-magnetic. Heat treatment will not harden this stainless steel grade; nevertheless, it may be worked hardened. As a member of the austenitic family of alloys, AISI 304 has a wide range of applications. Due to its exceptional qualities, the grade is used in a wide range of industries.

What is AISI 304 stainless steel?

AISI 304 stainless steel is non-alloy and the austenitic grade. It is suitable for high-performance and high-temperature environments and offers good corrosion resistance. It is also known by the letters "304". AISI 304 Stainless Steel is a high-performance hoop stress strip construction material frequently used in applications where low wear capability, impact resistance, and fast brazing are required. AISI 304 stainless steel is a very strong and corrosion and oxidation-resistant type of stainless steel. Its name is different because it represents the carbon content range, which is 0.03% to 0.12%. It has good impact toughness and hardness-to-weight ratios. AISI 304 is classified as stainless steel, however, it should be noted that this alloy also has nickel and carbon content. This makes for soft and tough stainless steel which prevents the risk of hydrogen embrittlement. This material is commonly used in piping systems and can even be found inside your refrigerator or freezer.

Benefits of stainless steel

Stainless steel is one of the most popular metals used in the world due to its many benefits. It is cold-rolled, cold-formed, corrosion-resistant, hard enough to extrude easily for sheet metal parts or bars, inhibit oxidation, and has high chemical resistance. It resists warping with hot liquids, tolerates extremes of temperatures well, are readily machinable without lubrication, has good corrosion resistance in both air and water environments, and is resistant to corrosive chemicals used in paint processing. AISI 304 also can be hardened by cold working after quenching with nickel alloying elements This article provides information on how beneficial it is for industry professionals to use AISI 304 stainless steel. The benefits of this material include its high-performance capabilities, corrosion resistance, and versatility. The steel grade used in many foundries is 304, which has received numerous benefits for its corrosion prevention. 304 Steel stands out for its high chromium levels which result in good rust resistance too. Despite the fact that other materials like Nickel 201 may require less friction during manufacturing, it is important to know that stainless steels remain one of the most used grades for foundry applications.


Fabrication of all Stainless steels ought to be done uniquely with devices devoted to tempered steel materials. Tooling and work surfaces should be entirely cleaned before use. These safety measures are important to keep away from cross tainting of tempered steel by handily consumed metals that might stain the outer layer of the manufactured item.

Cold Working

304 treated steel promptly work solidifies. Fabrication strategies including cold working might require a middle strengthening stage to ease work solidifying and abstain from tearing or breaking. Toward the finish of manufacture a full tempering activity ought to be utilized to diminish inner burdens and upgrade erosion resistance.

Hot Working

Fabrication strategies like fashioning, that including hot working ought to happen after uniform warming to 1149-1260°C. The manufactured parts should then be quickly cooled to guarantee most extreme consumption opposition.

Heat Treatment

304 tempered steel can't be solidified by heat treatment. Solution treatment or annealing should be possible by quick cooling in the wake of warming to 1010-1120°C.


304 has great machinability. Machining can be upgraded by utilizing the accompanying principles: Cutting edges should be kept sharp. Dull edges cause overabundance work solidifying. Cuts ought to be light however profound enough to forestall work solidifying by riding on the outer layer of the material. Chip breakers ought to be utilized to help with guaranteeing swarf stays clear of the work. Low warm conductivity of austenitic compounds brings about heat amassing at the bleeding edges. This implies coolants and greases are vital and should be utilized in enormous amounts.

AISI 304 stainless steel pros and cons

AISI 304 stainless steel is a high-performance material that has a full range of production grades that vary in properties, depending on the desired application. The use of this steel grade is growing because it combines lower production expenses with components that offer corrosion resistance and excellent mechanical properties AISI 304 is a free-machining material possessing a high chromium nitride-bearing austenitic structure. At typical operating temperatures, the austenitic phase transforms to martensite. The stainless steel is homogeneously cast from molten metal at precise stoichiometric conditions between carbon, chromium, and nitrogen rather than being cast from solid ingots as seen with AISI 316 type of stainless steel. These fewer reactions lead to improved control on some important aspects such as corrosion, residual stresses, and deposits on the face of the material.

Applications of AISI 304 stainless steel

It is extensively utilized in the petroleum and chemical industries, metallurgy machinery, aerospace industry, and food processing equipment. AISI 304 stainless steel is also employed in the manufacture of domestic goods and accessories.

Supplied Forms
  • Sheet
  • Strip
  • Bar
  • Plate
  • Pipe
  • Tube
  • Coil
  • Fittings


AISI 304 is also known as 18/8 Stainless steel. This name has been derived from the composition of Chromium and Nickel elements present in the alloy. Nickel amounts to about 8% and Chromium accounts for about 18%. A few suffixes used with 304 with the major alterations in chemical composition are shown in below table-

Properties of 304/304L

Grade Composition
304L Low carbon (max. 0.03%)
304H High carbon (0.04-0.08%)
304LN Low Carbon (max. 0.03%) with High Nitrogen (0.12-0.22%)
304N High Nitrogen (0.10-0.16%)

Chemical Properties (as per Standard EN 10088-3:2014)

Composition 304/1.4301 304L/1.4307
Carbon (%) Max. 0.07 Max. 0.03
Silicon (%) Max. 1 Max. 1
Manganese (%) Max. 2 Max. 2
Phosphorous (%) Max. 0.045 Max. 0.045
Sulphur (%) Max. 0.030 Max. 0.030
Chromium (%) 17.5-19.5 17.5-19.5
Nickel (%) 8.0-10.5 8.0-10.5
Nitrogen (%) Max 0.11 Max 0.11

Mechanical Properties (as per Standard EN 10088-3:2014)

Grade Hardness (HBW) max. (0.2%) Proof strength (MPa) min Tensile strength (MPa) min. Elongation after fracture (long. min.) mpact energy (J) min.
304/1.4301 215 190 500-700 45 100
304L/1.4307 215 175 500-700 45 100

Other Trade names of AISI 304 & 304L

AISI UNS Europe (EN) Japanese (JIS)
304 S30400 1.4301/ DIN X5CrNi 18-10 JIS SUS304
304L S30403 1.4307/ DIN X2CrNi18-9 JIS SUS304L

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Amardeep Steel Centre is the leading manufacturer of stainless steel that provides a wide range of applications across various industries. We have decades of expertise in stainless steel manufacturing and currently caters to customers across the globe

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