Stainless Steel Grade AISI 304
AISI 304 stainless steel sheets and plates
As well known, there are various types (or 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".
As a leading metal plate supplier, mirrorINOX offers a large choice of products for stainless steel surface finishing for all applications: beadblasting, circular polishing, mirror polishing, and more.
We provide 304 stainless steel sheets in multiple standard or custom dimensions (1000 x 2000 mm, 8’x4’, 4’x10’, etc.) and thicknesses – 1 mm, 2 mm, 3 mm, as well as thinner or thicker sizes.
What is 304 stainless steel?
What does AISI 304 / 304L stand for?
The material "AISI 304 stainless steel / inox" 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 is often followed by the suffix L, so it is called "AISI 304L", which characterizes the low-carbon version of this inox grade. Compared to AISI 304, AISI 304L has a lower carbon content (less than 0.03 %). For this reason, this grade of 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.
Benefits and uses of 304 stainless steel
304 stainless steel sheets are an ideal material of the “stainless steel” metal group for most applications due to their:
- High corrosion resistance
- Good processability
- Good formability
- Aesthetic appearance
A key characteristic of the AISI 304 (1.4301) grade, or X5CrNi18-10, is its 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 equivalent names of stainless steels, which exist in different countries, make it sometimes difficult to assign correctly the respective material in the specific system.
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 304 grade stainless steel, namely the year 1912. The abbreviation is derived from the German words “Versuch” ("trial", "test", "experiment") and "Austenit" ("austenite"). 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 equivalent 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 more used 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%.
AISI 304 stainless steel: what are the properties of this grade?
In contrast to other stainless steel grades, AISI 304 stainless steel plates possess the following benefits:
- Very good welding properties
- High resistance to corrosion and oxidation
- 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, AISI 304 inox "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, make it an ideal metal, which, in contrast to aluminium, is not only more functional, but also offers a very attractive visual appearance.
Is AISI 304 stainless steel 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 AISI 304 inox
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 304 stainless steel
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
Is the material magnetic?
No (slight changes for cold-rolled material are possible)
Is the material polishable?
1 % Yield strength of Stainless steel,
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
Applications and branches for stainless steel AISI 304
As described previously, stainless steel AISI 304 is a very universally applicable material and used in a wide variety of applications in many industries, such as:
- Mechanical engineering
- In both public and private sectors
304 stainless steel sheets are often used for the manufacturing of:
- Cooling, washing, baking, cleaning and disinfection chambers
- Many other parts that come into contact with aggressive materials
- As well as for industrial metal furniture (such as tables, cupboards and shelves)
Thin, mirror-polished and grit-polished, decorative inox sheets of the grade AISI 304 are used for the visual enhancement of façade elements, elevator cars, escalators and much more.
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 this inox grade make these tubes suitable for the construction of chimneys as well.
Polished and mirror-polished tubes, bars and solid material are used to manufacture railings, handrails in elevators and fittings and accessories 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
UNS Unified Numbering System for Metals and Alloys
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)
160 to 190
Type of alloy
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 AISI 304 stainless steel in sheet and tube form, as well as other inox grades such as AISI 316 or duplex stainless steel plates.
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.