There are different types of stainless steel, and they all differ depending on their composition materials. In addition, their respective quantities also distinguish them. For instance, martensitic steels contain chromium, making them suitable for producing surgical instruments, whereas austenitic steels resist corrosion more. Therefore, the stainless steel application must determine the steel grade used. With so many options in the market, it is easy to find the most suitable stainless steel.

The 304 stainless steel

It is known as SS304 and comprises 8% nickel and 18% chromium. It is a strong metal loved because of its high corrosion resistance; it is also very easy to fabricate, making it a popular choice in the austenitic market. This metal is used for kitchen sinks, microwaves, and toasters. Wheel covers, pressure vessels, and building facades also feature it. The fact that it helps prevent contamination of products gives it an advantage, hence the huge use in equipment meant for food preparation. 

The 410 stainless steel 

This stainless steel grade is martensitic, with 11.5% being chromium. It is general-purpose steel used mostly in applications with mild corrosion, high strength, and heat resistance. However, processes such as polishing, tempering, and hardening are used to enhance it further. The fabrication process of this steel requires heat treatment, just like most martensitic stainless steel. It tends to lose strength when exposed to high temperatures. This is a result of ductility loss and over tempering at subzero temperatures. 

The differences 

Chemical composition – 304 stainless steel contains Ni and Cr, at 8% and 18%, respectively. Therefore, they are the most important elements, although it is not limited to the two. On the other hand, the SS 410 chemical composition is 13% chromium and 0.15% carbon. 

Physical properties – At a density of 7.93 g/cm3, 304 is resistant to degrees of upto 800. It is highly resistant to corrosion and oxidation and is easy to fabricate. They all together make stainless steel ideal in most applications. The 410 steel, on the other hand, is strong and offers excellent machinability, especially after hardening. However, it is magnetic and not a good choice for highly corrosive environments. It can withstand temperatures up to 650 degrees but losses strength along the way, making treatment very important. 

Application – The 304 stainless steel is used in various applications, including; production equipment in dairy, breweries, food and pharmaceuticals, splash backs and sinks, tubing, flatware, and cutlery. In addition, you will find the 410 stainless steel in gas turbines, fractionating structures in the petroleum industry, valves, shafts, and screws and bushings. 

Labeling methods – Martensitic stainless steels fall under the 400 series, where the 410, 443, and 405 stainless steels fall. On the other hand, the austenitic steels are labeled in the 200 and 300 series. The 310, 201, 316, and 304 all fall in this category. The market uses a labeling method that easily distinguishes the metals.

With all the stainless steel options available, it can seem like a daunting task to make a choice. Luckily, the field has experts who can easily help you select what suits your application best. 

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