In the world of stainless steel, grade 304 is one of the most versatile grades and commonly used alloys. Also known as 18/8 for its chemical composition of 18% chromium and 8% nickel, this austenitic stainless steel grade is often used in kitchen equipment like sinks and backsplashes, cookware and flatware, and sanitary ware and tubing. Its hygienic properties, combined with the fact that it resists corrosion in harsh environments, make it a popular choice for food processing and medical equipment.
In addition to chromium and nickel, this type of stainless steel contains small amounts of silicon, manganese, sulphur and phosphorus. These elements help to improve its strength and durability. It is a low-cost and high-performance alloy that can be worked to form a variety of shapes and sizes. It has a higher melting point than other types of stainless steel, so it can be heated and melted more easily.
Although 304 has good resistance to many corrosive conditions, it can be susceptible to stress corrosion cracking and chloride pitting in environments with a high concentration of chlorine. For these types of environments, the more durable 316 is recommended.
Both grade 304 and 316 offer excellent corrosion resistance in a range of harsh environments. Matching the right grade to your intended usage and environment can help you minimize maintenance costs and extend the functional life of your stainless steel products by years. The experienced team at Unified Alloys can help you find the grade that is best suited for your specific application.