Stainless Steel - Grade 304 (UNS S30400)
Fe, <0.08% C, 17.5-20% Cr, 8-11% Ni, <2% Mn, <1% Si, <0.045% P, <0.03% S
Grade 304 is the standard "18/8" stainless; it is the most versatile and most widely used stainless steel, available in a wider range of products, forms and finishes than any other. It has excellent forming and welding characteristics. The balanced austenitic structure of Grade 304 enables it to be severely deep drawn without intermediate annealing, which has made this grade dominant in the manufacture of drawn stainless parts such as sinks, hollow-ware and saucepans. For these applications it is common to use special "304DDQ" (Deep Drawing Quality) variants. Grade 304 is readily brake or roll formed into a variety of components for applications in the industrial, architectural, and transportation fields. Grade 304 also has outstanding welding characteristics. Post-weld annealing is not required when welding thin sections.
Grade 304L, the low carbon version of 304, does not require post-weld annealing and so is extensively used in heavy gauge components (over about 6mm). Grade 304H with its higher carbon content finds application at elevated temperatures. The austenitic structure also gives these grades excellent toughness, even down to cryogenic temperatures.
These properties are specified for flat rolled product (plate, sheet and coil) in ASTM A240/A240M. Similar but not necessarily identical properties are specified for other products such as pipe and bar in their respective specifications.