317L Round Bar

Stainless Steel Material Properties

The stainless steel market has a wide variety of grades and varieties available, but they all share common qualities such as corrosion resistance, strength, and elasticity. Each grade has a varying degree of these characteristics, but they all share these characteristics to a significant degree. It is generally accepted that stainless steel material properties are generally better in terms of corrosion resistance, ductility, strength, tensile strength, as well as cryogenic and heat toughness than standard steel.

As a result of these admirable properties of stainless steel, it is suitable for multiple applications across a variety of different industries in the manufacturing industry. However, each of these grades boasts its own unique degree of these properties, which therefore makes it suitable for applications in different fields.

With its excellent hardness, ease of maintenance, and corrosion resistance capabilities, the 300 series stainless steel is known as an austenitic steel. This stainless steel is also a popular choice for use in a wide variety of applications. 

As a result of these advantages, the 300 series has become one of the most widely used and well recognized alloys in the automotive, construction, and aerospace industries. The 300 series is made from 304 alloy, which is one of the most corrosion resistant alloys on earth. 

The Mechanical Properties of stainless steel and their differences

Among the other differences between grade 304 stainless steel material and its variant, grade 304L, a key difference is their mechanical properties. Grade 304L has a slight, but significant, reduction in important mechanical performance characteristics when compared to the “standard” grade 304 stainless steel material.

304L stainless steel has an ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of 85 ksi (approximately 586 MPa), less than the UTS of standard grade 304 stainless steel, which is 90 ksi (approximately 620 MPa). As shown in the table above, there is a slight difference in the yield strength of one of these materials over another, with 304 stainless steel having a yield strength of 42 ksi (289 MPa), and 304L having a yield strength of 35 ksi (241 MPa).

The result is that if you were to compare two steel wire baskets with the identical design, wire thickness, and construction, it would be safe to say that the basket made from 304L stainless steel would be structurally less reliable than the basket made from 304 stainless steel. However, the density of 304 steel is the same as the density of 304L.

Type 304 Stainless Steel 

There are several types of austenitic stainless steels available, but type 304 is the most widely used. In addition to being known as 18/8 stainless steel because it contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel, type 304 stainless steel also has good forming and welding properties, along with excellent corrosion resistance and strength.

Stainless steel of type 304 is also easily drawn. It can be formed into a variety of shapes and, in contrast to type 302, it is able to be used without annealing, a process that softens metals. There are several applications for type 304 stainless steel in the food industry. It is suited for the use of brewery and milk processing machines, wine making machinery, and pipelines. It is also suitable for fermenting vats, brewing vessels, and storage tanks, and it is also a good material for fermentation vats and fermentation vats.​

The stainless steel grade 304 is also commonly used in sinks, tabletops, coffee pots, refrigerators, stoves, utensils, and other cooking appliances. It is resistant to corrosion caused by various chemicals found in fruits, meat, and milk. Other uses for type 304 include architecture, chemical containers, heat exchangers, mining equipment, and marine nuts, bolts, and screws. In addition to mining and water filtration systems, type 304 is used in dyeing as well. 

Type 304L Stainless Steel 

An extra-low carbon version of stainless steel, Type 304L stainless steel is a version of this alloy that has a lower carbon content than 304. As a result of the lower carbon content in 304L, there is less carbide precipitation during welding. It is, therefore, possible to use 304L as it has been welded in severe corrosion environments, and it does not need to be annealed.

Although this grade has slightly less mechanical properties than the standard 304 grade, its versatility makes it widely used despite having a lower mechanical property. In addition to being used in beer and wine, Type 304 stainless steel is also commonly used in chemical containers, mining, and construction, as well as brewing and wine. This is the best way to use it on metal components that will be exposed to salt water, such as nuts and bolts. 

The 304 stainless steel and 304L stainless steel are good general-purpose stainless steels. They are resistant to atmospheric corrosion, chemical attacks from organic and inorganic substances, and food damage.

Due to our in-house processing capabilities, we are able to process stainless steel to your exact specifications for each and every order.

The Difference Between 304 and 304L

A main difference between 304 and 304L stainless steel is that 304L has a maximum carbon content of .03 and is good for welding, whereas 304 has a carbon content in the middle range and is not suitable for welding.

For the corrosion-resistant properties of stainless steel, 304 and 304L are austenitic alloys, which means that they are manufactured from a solid solution of ferric carbide or carbon in iron, which acts as a nonmagnetic solid solution.

Properties and Uses

Among the many qualities provided by these alloys are their excellent forming and welding properties, corrosion and oxidation resistance, toughness at low temperatures, ease of fabrication, and good aesthetic appearance. They also contain chromium and nickel along with carbon as additional elements.

There are many uses for 304 and 304L stainless steel, including tanks, tools, food industry equipment and appliances, architectural trim, filtration screens in marine environments, and fasteners while these are used in corrosive environments.

What Are the Benefits of 304L, Then?

If 304L is weaker than 304 stainless steel, why would anyone use it?

This is caused to a substantial degree by the lower carbon content of the 304L alloy, which helps minimize/eliminate carbide precipitation during the welding process. This allows stainless steels including 304L stainless steel to be used even in harsh environments with severe corrosion.

The 304 stainless steel, even though it is a stainless steel, would degrade much faster if you used it in the same way as the stainless steel.

In general, using 304L metals eliminates the need to heat anneal weld joints before using the completed metal form, which can result in a significant time and effort savings.

A lot of the same applications that can be done with 304 or 304L do not seem to be significantly more useful than the other for many of the same reasons. When a stronger corrosion resistance is required, other alloys, which can offer even stronger corrosion resistance, are often considered as an alternative to grade 316 stainless steel as an alternative.

Stainless steel grade 304 is frequently used for wire forms since it has the characteristics of being resistant to high temperatures, corrosion, and strength as well as being strong at high temperatures. In spite of the fact that 304L is more suitable for heavy gauge components that require strong weld joints, 304 is a versatile material that can be used in wire baskets that will last a lifetime. The application of the stainless steel product will help you determine the grade and type of stainless steel which will be most suitable for your needs when choosing the material.

304 Vs. 304L: Applications


Due to its resistance to elements involved and ease of cleaning, grade 304 stainless steel is a favorite among food processors and brewers. It is also used in the production of beer, coffee, milk, and wine due to its excellent attributes.

In the industry, 304 is used for:

  • Pipelines
  • Storage tanks
  • Yeast pans
  • Fermentation vats

In addition to fruit and meat, type 304 can withstand corrosion caused by chemicals.

  • Sinks and tabletops
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Cooking utensils 

In addition to this, this grade is frequently used in the architecture industry.There is also a growing market for types of 304L steel in the brewing and wine making industries. The corrosion resistance of 304L steel makes it an ideal steel to use for outdoor construction projects as well.


There are several chemical-heavy places where you can find type 304. Some of the places where you can find type 304 include: mining, water filtration systems, dyeing, and many other places.

  • Heat exchangers
  • Chemical containers
  • Mining equipment
  • Parts of marine engines that are screwed, nutted, and bolted 

For the most part, the purpose of stainless steel 304L is pretty much the same as that of 316L: chemical containers, mining tools, and things of that nature. Scientists are also using stainless steel 304L to make metal parts that will withstand saltwater exposure. That said, if you want the most marine-ready stainless steel, you’re better off with 316L.  

Mokshi Shah
Mokshi Shah