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Stainless steel 304/316L/321 difference

Stainless steel 304/316L/321 difference

Speaking of the difference between stainless steel materials, you must first understand the characteristics of each common stainless steel material. 201 stainless steel is the most cost-effective stainless steel material, cheap, but easy to rust; 304 stainless steel is the most common and widely used stainless steel material, not easy to rust, good quality, and relatively high price; 316 stainless steel is an imported The material is used in some high-end equipment, such as aerospace, food machinery and other fields, and the price is high. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these common stainless steel materials.

The difference between 304 and 316 stainless steel

It is practically impossible to see the difference between 304 and 316 stainless steel with the naked eye. Many people are confused when they see these numbers. Let me take a look at the difference between stainless steel 304 and 316 today.
First of all, 316 stainless steel contains Mo, which has better corrosion resistance than 304 stainless steel in high temperature environments, so in high temperature environments, engineers generally choose 316 material parts.
Secondly, there are differences between the two in terms of grades; 304 stainless steel corresponds to Chinese grade 0Cr18Ni9; 316 stainless steel corresponds to Chinese grade 0Cr17Ni12Mo2.

Third, 316 mainly reduces the Cr content, increases the Ni content and increases Mo2%~3%. Therefore, its corrosion resistance is stronger than that of 304, and it is suitable for use in chemical, seawater and other environments. Similarly, the cost of 316 is also higher than that of 304. Generally, 316 is used in places with higher requirements instead of 304.

It is practically impossible to see the difference between stainless steel 304 and 316 with the naked eye. There is a more intuitive way to distinguish, using stainless steel potion for identification. For the usage method of stainless steel potion, please click here to view.

The difference between 304 and 321 stainless steel

The main difference between 304 and 321 stainless steel is that 304 does not contain Ti, and 321 contains Ti. Ti can prevent stainless steel from sensitizing. Generally speaking, it can improve the high temperature service life of stainless steel. That is to say, 321 stainless steel plate is better than 304 stainless steel plate under high temperature environment. Fit. Both 304 and 321 are austenitic stainless steels, and their appearance and physical properties are very similar, with only a slight difference in chemical composition.
First of all, 321 stainless steel is required to contain trace amounts of titanium (Ti) (according to the ASTM A182-2008 standard, the Ti content should not be less than 5 times the carbon (C) content, but not less than 0.7%, another note, 304 and 321 The carbon (C) content is 0.08%), and 304 does not contain titanium (Ti).
Secondly, the requirements for nickel (Ni) content are slightly different. 304 is between 8% and 11%, while 321 is between 9% and 12%.

Third, the requirements for chromium (Cr) content are different. 304 is between 18% and 20%, while 321 is between 17% and 19%.

So you can use metal material analyzer or chemical analysis method to verify the composition of these two materials and make judgments.