304/304L Stainless Steel
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304/304L Stainless Steel

304 Stainless is a low carbon (0.08% max) version of basic 18-8 also known as 302. Type 302 has 18% chromium and 8% nickel.

Type 304 has slightly lower strength than 302 due to its lower carbon content. Type 304 finds extensive use in welding applications because the low carbon permits some exposure in the carbide precipitation range of 800°F - 1500°F without the need for post-annealing operations. However, the severity of corrosive environments may necessitate annealing after welding or the use of 304L.

Type 304L has a carbon content of 0.03% or less. This alloy can be used in the as-welded condition without becoming susceptible to intergranular corrosion.

Specifications - Stainless Steel 304/304L
Chemical Composition - Stainless Steel 304/304L
Element Percentage by Weight Maximum Unless Range is Specified
304 304L 304H
Carbon 0.08 0.030 0.04-0.10
Manganese 2.00 2.00 2.00
Phosphorus 0.045 0.045 0.045
Sulfur 0.030 0.030 0.030
Silicon 0.75 0.75 0.75
Chromium 18.00
20.00
18.00
20.00
18.00
20.00
Nickel 8.0
10.50
8.0
12.00
8.0
10.5
Nitrogen 0.10 0.10 0.10
304 Resistance To Corrosion
Grade 317 317L
UNS Designation S31700 S31703
Carbon (C) Max. 0.08 0.035*
Manganese (Mn) Max. 2.00 2.00
Phosphorous (P) Max. 0.040 0.04
Sulphur (S) Max. 0.03 0.03
Silicon (Si) Max. 1.00 1.00
Chromium (Cr) 18.0–20.0 18.0–20.0
Nickel (Ni) 11.0–14.0 11.0–15.0
Molybdenum (Mo) 3.0–4.0 3.0–4.0
Nitrogen (N)
Iron (Fe) Bal. Bal.
Other Elements

*Maximum carbon content of 0.04% acceptable for drawn tubes

Typical Mechanical Properties-Stainless Steel 304/304L
Grade Tensile Strength Rm N/mm²
Yield Strength Rp 0.2, N/mm² Elongation (%)
304 Annealed 500-700 195 40
304L Annealed 460-680 180 40

Design Features - Stainless Steel 304/304L
Typical Applications - Stainless Steel 304/304L
Tensile Requirements - Stainless Steel 304/304L

Each alloy represents an excellent combination of corrosion resistance and fabricability. This combination of properties is the reason for the extensive use of these alloys which represent nearly one half of the total U.S. stainless steel production. The 18-8 stainless steels, principally Alloys 304, 304L, and 304H, are available in a wide range of product forms including sheet, strip, and plate. The alloys are covered by a variety of specifications and codes relating to, or regulating, construction or use of equipment manufactured from these alloys for specific conditions. Food and beverage, sanitary, cryogenic, and pressure-containing applications are examples.

Alloy 304 is the standard alloy since AOD technology has made lower carbon levels more easily attainable and economical. Alloy 304L is used for welded products which might be exposed to conditions which could cause intergranular corrosion in service.

Alloy 304H is a modification of Alloy 304 in which the carbon content is controlled to a range of 0.04-0.10 to provide improved high temperature strength to parts exposed to temperatures above 800°F.

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