The name stainless steel is usually associated with the ability of the metal to resist any rust when the alloys made using stainless steel are exposed to different environmental conditions. There are different types of steel alloys that serve different purposes and they can easily overlap. All the different varieties of stainless steel contain about 10% of chromium. However, it is not all stainless steel products are the same and in some cases, there are different degrees of the matter that we might not be knowing about.
Each of the varieties of stainless steel is usually graded to form a series. The series forms a classification of the different types of steel usually named from 200-600 and there are still many categories in between them. Each of them usually comes in different varieties and they have a variety of properties. They usually fall into different categories of families that can be magnetic, non-magnetic, duplex and precipitation hardness that usually has high strength and it is resistant to corrosion.
In this article, we are going to tackle 304 and 304L that are common in the market and you can easily find 304 stainless steel tube.
How 304 Stainless Steel is Beneficial for a Wide Range of Industries?
It is the most common non-magnetic stainless steel that is available in the market. In some cases, it is usually referred to as ‘18/8’ due to the composition. It contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. It has good forming properties and strong resistance to corrosion.
It can also be easily drawn into a variety of shapes as compared to 302 stainless steel. It can also be used without the necessity of annealing. Most of the common uses of 304 steel take place in the food industry. It is used in milk processing, manufacture of wine, processing of milk, making pipelines and the storage tanks.
304-grade stainless steel is also found in the sinks, coffee pots, refrigerators, utensils, and cooking appliances. It can also withstand corrosion that is caused by the various chemicals found in fruits, milk, and meat. Other common areas where it is applied are architecture, the heat exchangers, the mining equipment, marine nuts, bolts, and screws. It is also used in the mining process, filtration systems, and the dye industry.
Forging of Type 304 Stainless Steel
It is usually forged between 1260/930 degree Celsius and air cooled during the forging process and there are certain forging conditions that are considered during the process as follows.
- Severe reductions is carried out at 1260 degree Celsius and it involves practices such as ingot breakdown, drawing, and backward extrusion.
- Moderate reductions which involves activities such as finishing the forging process and setting it up usually at 1200 degree Celsius.
- Slight reductions which involve activities such as coining, restructuring and up setting usually carried out at 1120 degree Celsius.
304L Stainless Steel
This is usually an extra low-carbon steel alloy. Due to the lower content of carbon found in 304L, it can easily minimize the harmful carbide precipitation due to welding activities. 304L can be welded in a highly corrosive environment and there is no need for annealing when you are using it.
It has low mechanical properties than standard 304 grade and it can be used widely due to its versatility. Just like 304 stainless, it can be used in the making of wine and beers. It is also used for purposes that are beyond the food industry such as the manufacture of the chemical containers, construction, and mining. It can also be used in the metal parts such as the bolts and nuts when they are exposed to water.
When is Heat Treatment Used
Most of the type 300 series stainless steel cannot usually be hardened by the process of heat treatment. The only heat treatment procedure carried out on them is annealing. If the temperature grades are cooled through the process of forging which happens at 480 degrees Celsius then the precipitation of chromium carbide will be formed leading to a loss in the resistance of the stainless steel to corrosion. Due to this, annealing is carried out at 1065 degree Celsius followed by a quench of water.
Stainless steel is a common element that is found in most of the home applications. Its abilities make it appropriate for a wide range of uses. Apart from the home applications, it is widely used in the construction industry. It is also used in the medical industry in the manufacture of the medical equipment and the different medical tools since it does not react with the chemicals or the body fluids when used. 304 stainless steel tube is now more popular than ever and you can place a quote for the metal tube from reliable manufacturing firms.