The most versatile and widely used chromium-nickel (18/8) austenitic stainless steel.
Stainless steel types 1.4301 and 1.4307 are also known as grades 304 and 304L respectively. Type 304 is the most versatile and widely used stainless steel. It is still sometimes referred to by its old name 18/8 which is derived from the nominal composition of type 304 being 18% chromium and 8% nickel.
Type 304 stainless steel is an austenitic grade that can be severely deep drawn. This property has resulted in 304 being the dominant grade used in applications like sinks and saucepans.
Type 304L is the low carbon version of 304. It is used in heavy gauge components for improved weldability. Some products such as plate and pipe may be available as “dual certified” material that meets the criteria for both 304 and 304L.
304H, a high carbon content variant, is also available for use at high temperatures.
Property data given in this document is typical for bar/section and sheet/plate to EN 10088-3:2005 and EN 1008-2:2005 respectively, ASTM, EN or other standards may cover products sold. It is reasonable to expect specifications in these standards to be similar but not necessarily identical to those given in this datasheet.
If you do not see what you are looking for, please contact your local service centre with your specific requirements.
Stainless steel grade 1.4301/304 also corresponds to the following designations but may not be a direct equivalent:
0.00 - 0.07
17.50 - 19.50
0.00 - 2.00
8.00 - 10.50
0.00 - 0.11
0.00 - 0.05
0.00 - 1.00
0.00 - 0.03
Bar & Section Up to 160mm Dia / Thickness
Elongation A50 mm
45 Min %
215 Max HB
190 Min MPa
500 to 700 MPa
Sheet Up to 8mm Thick
230 Min MPa
540 to 750 Mpa
Elongation A50 mm
45 Min %
Plate From 8mm to 75mm thick
210 Min MPa
520 to 720 MPa
Elongation A50 mm
General Physical Properties
0.72 x 10-6 Ω .m
Modulus of Elasticity
17.2 x 10-6/K
Sinks and splashbacks
Cutlery and flatware
Sanitaryware and troughs
Brewery, dairy, food and pharmaceutical production equipment
Springs, nuts, bolts and screws
Excellent welding & forming properties
High corrosion resistance
Excellent drawing properties
Machinability is reasonable
Fusion welding performance for type 304 stainless steel is excellent both with and without fillers. Recommended filler rods and electrodes for stainless steel 304 is grade 308 stainless steel. For 304L the recommended filler is 308L. Heavy welded sections may require post-weld annealing. This step is not required for 304L. Grade 321 may be used if post-weld heat treatment is not possible.
Fabrication of all stainless steels should be done only with tools dedicated to stainless steel materials. Tooling and work surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned before use. These precautions are necessary to avoid cross contamination of stainless steel by easily corroded metals that may discolour the surface of the fabricated product.
304 stainless steel cannot be hardened by heat treatment.
Solution treatment or annealing can be done by rapid cooling after heating to 1010-1120°C.
304 has good machinability. Machining can be enhanced by using the following rules:
Cutting edges must be kept sharp. Dull edges cause excess work hardening.
Cuts should be light but deep enough to prevent work hardening by riding on the surface of the material.
Chip breakers should be employed to assist in ensuring swarf remains clear of the work
Low thermal conductivity of austenitic alloys results in heat concentrating at the cutting edges. This means coolants and lubricants are necessary and must be used in large quantities.
Fabrication methods, like forging, that involve hot working should occur after uniform heating to 1149-1260°C. The fabricated components should then be rapidly cooled to ensure maximum corrosion resistance.
304 stainless steel readily work hardens. Fabrication methods involving cold working may require an intermediate annealing stage to alleviate work hardening and avoid tearing or cracking. At the completion of fabrication a full annealing operation should be employed to reduce internal stresses and optimise corrosion resistance.
304 has good resistance to oxidation in intermittent service up to 870°C and in continuous service to 925°C. However, continuous use at 425-860°C is not recommended if corrosion resistance in water is required. In this instance 304L is recommended due to its resistance to carbide precipitation.
Where high strength is required at temperatures above 500°C and up to 800°C, grade 304H is recommended. This material will retain aqueous corrosion resistance
304 has excellent corrosion resistance in many environments and when in contact with different corrosive media.
Pitting and crevice corrosion can occur in environments containing chlorides.