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Chymic component of 304 stainless steel balls
Excellent in a wide range of atmospheric environments and many corrosive media. Subject to pitting and crevice corrosion in warm chloride environments, and to stress corrosion cracking above about 60°C. Considered resistant to potable water with up to about 200mg/L chlorides at ambient temperatures, reducing to about 150mg/L at 60°C.
Good oxidation resistance in intermittent service to 870°C and in continuous service to 925°C. Continuous use of 304 in the 425-860°C range is not recommended if subsequent aqueous corrosion resistance is important. Grade 304L is more resistant to carbide precipitation and can be heated into the above temperature range.
Solution Treatment (Annealing) - Heat to 1010-1120°C and cool rapidly. These grades cannot be hardened by thermal treatment.
Excellent weldability by all standard fusion methods, both with and without filler metals. AS 1554.6 pre-qualifies welding of 304 with Grade 308 and 304L with 308L rods or electrodes (and with their high silicon equivalents). Heavy welded sections in Grade 304 may require post-weld annealing for maximum corrosion resistance. This is not required for Grade 304L. Grade 321 may also be used as an alternative to 304 if heavy section welding is required and post-weld heat treatment is not possible.
A "Ugima" improved machinability version of grade 304 is available in bar products. "Ugima" machines significantly better than standard 304 or 304L, giving higher machining rates and lower tool wear in many operations.
It is common for 304 and 304L to be stocked in "Dual Certified" form, particularly in plate and pipe. These items have chemical and mechanical properties complying with both 304 and 304L specifications. Such dual certified product does not meet 304H specifications and may be unacceptable for high temperature applications.
Typical applications include:
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
Woven or welded screens for mining, quarrying & water filtration