304 is the most widely ordered stainless steel in the world due to its high corrosion resistance, formability, and ease of fabrication. It's used for a variety of different applications, including electrical enclosures, auto molding and trim, wheel covers, kitchen equipment, hose clamps, exhaust manifolds, stainless hardware, storage tanks, pressure vessels, and piping.
stainless 304 is an austenitic stainless steel grade that contains 8 to 10.5% nickel and 18-20% chromium. It has a very low carbon content.
This makes it an excellent choice for projects that require resistance to rusting and heat exposure, especially when the temperature is above 60 degC. It also has a high resistance to pitting and crevice corrosion in warm chloride environments.
Machineability: 304 can be readily machinned by using dedicated tools and procedures. However, care must be taken to ensure that the cutting edge is sharp and that it remains clear of swarf.
Weldability: 304 can be welded with both gas and electric arc welding processes. Both types of welds have a very good bond strength and can be joined with minimal or no post-weld annealing.
Corrosion: 304 is a great stainless steel for corrosive environments and is resistant to rusting, though it can be compromised by chlorides. stainless 304 is prone to pitting corrosion in aqueous solutions, but it can be reduced with the use of higher carbon grades (304H).
Temperature: 304 can withstand a range of temperatures and has a higher melting point than 316 stainless steel. Despite this, it is recommended that 304 stainless steel be treated after heating to 1149-1260 degC.