Stainless steel is arguably the most popular type of steel around the globe. Its notable characteristic is corrosion resistance, which is why it is often employed in applications including architecture, culinary, and locomotive.

Stainless steels are classified by their crystalline structure, and austenitic stainless steel has austenite as its primary phase. The 300 series of austenitic stainless steel could be considered the most familiar type of stainless steel. This blog post will discuss two different grades of steel under the 300 series; 304 and 316.

Grade 304 Stainless Steel

304 stainless steel is one of the most commonly used on the market due to its versatility. It is an austenitic chromium alloy, made up of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. The chromium content provides the material with considerable resistance against corrosion and oxidation, which means that the steel will withstand ordinary rusting, but it may still tarnish over time.

This type of stainless still is extremely weldable, making it easy to fabricate. Although it does need cold working to generate a higher tensile strength. If the steel section is heavily welded, annealing may be required to ensure maximum corrosion resistance is achieved.

This grade of steel is not vulnerable to corrosion from acids found in common food items, which makes it a popular choice for use in refrigerators, work surfaces, and sinks. It is also the ideal choice for the pharmaceutical sectors in clean room environments.

304 stainless steel is also employed in pressure vessels, where high-temperature petroleum gases or steam production gases are stored. The construction industry is another area where this steel is often used for cosmetic purposes, due to its corrosion resistance.

Grade 316 Stainless Steel

316 stainless steel is the most common on the market, after grade 304. It is very similar to 304, but it has the addition of 2-3% of molybdenum, which provides even further resistance against corrosion. 316 stainless steel is often known as ‘marine grade stainless steel’ due to its increased resistance to chloride corrosion.

Like 304, 316 has exceptional welding and forming qualities. Post-weld annealing is required for 316 stainless steel to promote corrosion resistance.

The initial application for 316 stainless steel was for the paper producing industry, as the steel displays high resistance against the sulfur compounds used in paper processing.

This still is now used in a large range of applications, including pharmaceutical equipment, dairies and breweries, marine fittings, and coastal architectural fascia’s.

Stainless Steel from Masteel

Masteel is a major stainless steel supplier, and we can provide both 304 and 316 stainless steel for our clients. We are able to ship our products worldwide with a fast turnaround due to our in-house cutting and profiling services. If you would like any more information about 304 or 316 stainless steel, please contact us.