304 Stainless Steel

Characteristics of 304 Stainless Steel - Referred to as an 18-8 Stainless Steel

304 Stainless Steel

Stainless steels have very high resistance to corrosion made possible due to high concentrations of chromium and nickel. They achieve their stainless characteristics through the formation of an invisible and adherent Chromium rich oxide film. Alloy 304 is a general purpose austenitic stainless steel with a face centered cubic structure. It is essentially non-magnetic in the annealed condition and can only be hardened by cold working. The lower Carbon content compared with alloy 302 gives better corrosion resistance in welded structures.

304 SS Characteristics/Properties

304 stainless steel, like all steels, is composed primarily of iron. The relatively small quantities of other metals added to the alloy are what make it steel and give it very specific properties. In addition to iron, 304 Stainless steel is composed of .08 percent carbon, 1 per cent silicon, 2 percent manganese, .045 percent phosphorous, .03 percent sulfur, 18 to 20 percent chromium and 8 to 10.5 percent nickel. Carbon is the minimum requirement to turn iron ore into steel. The manganese and silicon give steel strength, and the chromium and nickel inhibit corrosion while also adding to the overall toughness of the steel.


  • Food processing equipment, particularly in beer brewing, milk processing & wine making.
  • Kitchen benches, sinks, troughs, equipment and appliances
  • Architectural panelling, railings & trim
  • Chemical containers, including for transport
  • Heat Exchangers
  • Woven or welded screens for mining, quarrying & water filtration
  • Threaded fasteners
  • Springs

Notes on 18-8 Series Stainless Steel:

The 300 series designation contains many different compositions of alloy steel (303, 304, 305, 316, 321, 347, etc.) but the common factors among them are:

  • Their carbon content is generally held to a maximum of 0.08%
  • They (generally) have 18% chromium
  • They (generally) have 8% nickel
  • They are non-magnetic
  • They cannot be hardened by heat treatment
  • They can be hardened by cold working the material (“work hardening.”)

304 SS MSDS Sheet

304 SS Technical Data Sheet