Stainless Steel Grade AISI 304

AISI 304 (1.4301 / V2A)

As well known, there are various types (grades) of stainless steel with different chemical compositions, which differ from one another also in their chemical and physical properties. Depending on their properties, chrome-nickel steels are mainly used in architecture and different fields of industry. One of the most frequently used materials is the steel grade X5CrNi1810, also known as "Stainless Steel AISI 304" or in German speaking countries popularly known as "V2A" or "1.4301".

What does AISI 304 stand for?

The material "AISI 304" is very well-known under this name in many parts of the world. The abbreviation AISI stands for "American Iron and Steel Institute". The first figure of the AISI 304 designation indicates that the material belongs to the group of austenitic stainless steels. The remaining two figures indicate the ordinal number in its category.

The material AISI 304 often followed by the suffix L, so it is called "AISI 304L", which characterizes the low-carbon version of this stainless steel grade. Compared to AISI 304, AISI 304L has a lower carbon content (less than 0.03 %). For this reason, AISI 304L stainless steel is very resistant to intergranular corrosion, but less heat-resistant than AISI 304 and is particularly suitable for applications where welding is required.

AISI 304 is an ideal grade of the material group “stainless steel” for most various applications due to its high corrosion resistance, good processability and formability in combination with its aesthetic appearance.

A key characteristic of the material AISI 304 (1.4301) is a large mass fraction of nickel and chromium (from about 10 wt% and 18 wt% accordingly). These elements provide high corrosion resistance and material strength. The inclusion of chromium in this material creates a surface oxide layer that ensures the resistance of stainless steel to certain substances and natural environmental influences such as water.

V2A, X5CrNi18-10, 1.4301 – Synonyms of AISI 304

Many various designation systems and names of stainless steels, which exist in different countries, sometimes make it difficult to assign correctly the respective material in the specific system. mirrorINOX therefore provides a brief overview of the various designations and their origins, here specifically for the material AISI 304, and explains what they mean.


1.4301 corresponds to the European Standard and is a very common designation for this type of austenitic stainless steels.


As the name for the stainless steel grade, V2A has a long history and goes back to the time of the "invention" of this material, namely the year 1912. The abbreviation is derived from the German words “Versuch” ("trial", "test", "experiment") and "Austenit" ("austenite"). The figure 2 indicates the ordinal number of the test in which the inventors obtained an alloy with the required properties. (The designation "V4A" for the material AISI 316 refers accordingly to test 4). The term V2A is very common in German-speaking countries.


The designation "X5CrNi18-10" for stainless steel AISI 304 was developed by the German Institute for Standardization (Deutsche Institut für Normung). At the moment, this designation is used more in a historical context, but it gives the chemical composition of the alloy very precisely.

The identifier X5 indicates that the alloy has a mass fraction of carbon of less than 0.07 %, the symbols Cr, Ni and the figures 18 and 10 indicate the mass fraction of the alloying elements chromium and nickel in the steel composition, namely: chromium 18 wt% and nickel 10 wt%.

Stainless steel AISI 304: Properties

In contrast to other stainless steel grades, the material AISI 304 possesses very good welding properties, high resistant to corrosion and oxidation and demonstrates excellent low-temperature characteristics, but it is also recommended for use at high temperatures.

In case the metal surface is damaged (by scratches or similar impact), the AISI 304 stainless steel "heals" in these places and does not allow corrosion to occur under normal conditions. In addition, its relatively low price and mechanical properties such as excellent formability during pressing, deep drawing and bending makes it an ideal metal, which, in contrast to aluminum, is not only more functional, but also offers a very attractive visual appearance.

Is AISI 304 magnetic?

AISI 304 is in principle a non-magnetic stainless steel, as it belongs to the austenitic class of steels and contains a mass fraction of nickel of 10 wt%.

However, under certain physical treatments, for example after cold forming, it can show slight magnetic properties.

Density of Stainless steel AISI 304

The density of the material AISI 304 is 7,9 kg/dm³ and the electrical resistance at 20 °C is 0.73 (Ω·mm²/m).

Tensile strength of Stainless steel AISI 304

The tensile strength of the material AISI 304 is between 500 and 700 Rm N/mm2.

Mechanical properties of Stainless steel AISI 304 at 20 °C/ 68 °F


0,2 % Yield strength Rp 0.2 (N/mm2)

>= 230 N/mm²

1,0 % Yield strength Rp 1.0 (N/mm2)


Tensile strength, Rm N/mm2


Elongation at break A5 (%)


lengthwise / crosswise

Notched impact strength ISO-V (J)

60 J / <= 75 mm

lengthwise / crosswise

Physical properties of Stainless steel AISI 304


Density, kg/dm3


Hardness HB


Is the material magnetic?

No (slight changes for cold-rolled material are possible)

Is the material polishable?

Yes, good

Material temperature

1 % Yield strength of Stainless steel,
Rp 1.0

Tensile strength of Stainless steel,

100 / 212 °C/°F

>= 190 / >= 27.55 N / mm² / ksi

450 / 63.5 N / mm² / ksi

200 / 392 °C/°F

>= 155 / >= 22.5 N / mm² / ksi

400 / 58.0 N / mm² / ksi

300 / 572 °C/°F

>= 135 / >= 19.6 N / mm² / ksi

380 / 55.1 N / mm² / ksi

400 / 752 °C/°F

>= 125 / >= 18.1 N / mm² / ksi

380 / 55.1 N / mm² / ksi

500 / 932 °C/°F

>= 120 / >= 17.4 N / mm² / ksi

Chemical composition of Stainless Steel AISI 304
Chemical elements








Min %



Max %








Applications and Branches for Stainless steel AISI 304

As already described previously, stainless steel AISI 304 is a very universally applicable material and used in a wide variety of applications in the mechanical engineering, medical, pharmaceutical, chemical and construction industries, in the public and private sectors.

AISI 304 is used for manufacturing of silos, tanks, containers, cooling, washing, baking, cleaning and disinfection chambers and many other parts that come into contact with aggressive materials, as well as for industrial metal furniture (such as tables, cupboards and shelves) used.

Thin, mirror-polished and grit-polished, decorative stainless steel sheets of the material AISI 304 are used for the visual enhancement of façade elements, elevator cars, escalators and much more.

The AISI 304 stainless tubes are also indispensable for the construction and installation of piping systems for many industry branches, such as the production of food, beverages and chemical goods. The heat-resistant properties of the stainless steel grade AISI 304 tubes make them suitable for construction of chimneys as well. Polished and mirror-polished tubes, bars and solid material are used to manufacture railings, handrails in elevators and reelings in yacht- and shipbuilding.

Everything you need to know about AISI 304 in one table

Designations and general descriptions of Stainless steel AISI 304

EN European Norms


AISI American Iron and Steel Institute

AISI 304

UNS Unified Numbering System for Metals and Alloys

S 30400
Grade 304

AFNOR Association française de normalisation

X5CrNi18-10 / NF EN 10088-1 (06-2005) (FR)

BS British Standards

X5CrNi18-10 / B.S. EN 10088-1 (06-2005) (GB)

Mill designation


Density, kg/dm³


Hardness HB

160 to 190

Type of alloy

Chromium-nickel steel


Stainless steels
Rust and acid-proof steels


Austenitic stainless steel


Resistant to intergranular corrosion up to a thickness of 5.0 mm, except in a welded form


Austenitic stainless steel AISI 304 has a good acid resistance

mirrorINOX: Professional stainless steel processing and surface treatment

mirrorINOX is the manufacturer of one of the most extensive product ranges of surface-treated stainless steel AISI 304 in sheet and tube form. With our state-of-the-art production facilities and the large attached warehouse, we produce, stock and supply high-quality products of the refined surface segment made of stainless steel in countless finishes and colours – also thanks to the use of our PVD/TiN and nanoINOX® technology.