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CCSi TechNotes: Stainless Steel
CCSi presents this information about Stainless as a general overview of the types of stainless steel that are used in manufacturing our products. It is not intended as a definitive guide! If more comprehensive information is required, please techinfo@ccsi-inc.com.
Stainless Steels: Chromium-Nickel Types 302, 304, 304L, & 305
GENERAL PROPERTIES
Types 302, 304, 304L, and 305 stainless steels are variations of the 18% chromium / 8% nickel austenitic alloy, the most familiar and most frequently used alloy in the stainless steel family.
These alloys may be considered for a wide variety of applications where one or more of the following properties are important:
  1. Resistance to corrosion;
  2. Prevention of product contamination;
  3. Resistance to oxidation;
  4. Ease of fabrication;
  5. Excellent formability;
  6. Beauty of appearance;
  7. Ease of cleaning;
  8. High strength with low weight;
  9. Good strength and toughness at cryogenic temperatures;
  10. Ready availability of a wide range of product forms;
Each alloy represents an excellent combination of corrosion resistance and fabricability. This combination of properties is the reason for the extensive use of these alloys which represent nearly one half of the total U.S. stainless steel production.
Type 304 represents the largest volume followed by Type 304L. Types 302 and 305 are used in smaller quantities. The 18-8 stainless steels, principally Types 304 and 304L, are available in a wide range of product forms including sheet, strip, foil and plate. The alloys are covered by a variety of specifications and codes relating to, or regulating, construction or use of equipment manufactured from these alloys for specific conditions. Food and beverage,sanitary, cryogenic, and pressure-containing applications are examples.
Past users of Type 302 are generally now using Type 304 since AOD technology has made lower carbon levels more easily attainable and economical. There are instances, such as in temper rolled products, when Type 302 is preferred over Type 304 since the higher carbon permits meeting of yield and tensile strength requirements while maintaining a higher level of ductility (elongation) versus that of the lower carbon T304.
Type 304L is used for welded products which might be exposed to conditions which could cause intergranular corrosion in service. Type 305 is used for applications requiring a low rate of work hardening during severe cold forming operations such as deep drawing. Other less frequently specified 18-8 stainless steel grades, such as Type 304N and Type 304LN are also available.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION
Chemistries per ASTM A240 and ASME SA-240:
Element Percentage by Weight:
Maximum Unless Range is Specified
302 304 304L 305
Carbon 00.150 00.080 00.030 00.120
Manganese 02.000 02.000 02.000 02.000
Phosphorus 00.045 00.045 00.045 00.045
Sulfur 00.030 00.030 00.030 00.030
Silicon 00.750 00.750 00.750 00.750
Chromium 17.000 18.000 18.000 17.000
19.000 20.000 20.000 19.000
Nickel 08.000 08.000 08.000 10.500
10.000 10.500 12.000 13.000
Nitrogen 0.10 0.10 0.10 --
Information Data are typical and should not be construed as maximum or minimum values for specification or for final design. Data on any particular piece of material may vary from those shown herein.
RESISTANCE TO CORROSION: General Corrosion
The Types 302, 304, 304L and 305 austenitic stainless steels provide useful resistance to corrosion on a wide range of moderately oxidizing to moderately reducing environments. The alloys are used widely in equipment and utensils for processing and handling of food, beverages and dairy products. Heat exchangers, piping, tanks and other process equipment in contact with fresh water also utilize these alloys.
Building facades and other architectural and structural applications exposed to non-marine atmospheres also heavily utilize the 18-8 alloys. In addition, a large variety of applications involve household and industrial chemicals.
The 18 to 19 percent of chromium which these alloys contain provides resistance to oxidizing environments such as dilute nitric acid, as illustrated by data for Type 304 below:
% Nitric Acid Temperature ºF (ºC) Corrosion Rate Mils/Yr (mm/a)
10 300 (149) 5.0 (0.13)
20 300 (149) 10.1 (0.25)
30 300 (149) 17.0 (0.43)
Other laboratory data for Types 304 and 304L in the table below illustrate that these alloys are also resistant to moderately aggressive organic acids such as acetic, and reducing acids such as phosphoric. The 9 to 11 percent of nickel contained by these 18-8 alloys assists in providing resistance to moderately reducing environments.
The more highly reducing environments such as boiling dilute hydrochloric and sulfuric acids are shown to be too aggressive for these materials. Boiling 50 percent caustic is likewise too aggressive.
General Corrosion in Boiling Chemicals
Boiling Environment Material Type 304 2 Type 304L  
Corrosion Rate
Mils/Yr (mm/a) Mils/Yr (mm/a)
20% Acetic Acid
Base Metal 0.10 (<0.01) 0.10 (<0.01)
Welded 1 1.00 (0.03) 0.10 (<0.01)
45% Formic Acid
Base Metal 55.00 (1.40) 15.00 (1.40)
Welded 1 52.00 (1.30) 19.00 (1.50)
10% Sulfamic Acid
Base Metal 144.00 (3.70) 50.00 (1.30)
Welded 1 144.00 (3.70) 57.00 (1.40)
1% Hydrochloric Acid
Base Metal 98.00 (2.50) 85.00 (2.20)
Welded 1 112.00 (2.80) 143.00 (3.60)
20% Phosphoric Acid
Base Metal <0.10 (<0.03)
Welded 1 <0.10 (<0.03)
65% Nitric Acid
Base Metal 9.20 (0.20) 8.90 (0.20)
Welded 1 9.40 (0.20) 7.40 (0.20)
10% Sulfuric Acid
Base Metal 445.00 (11.30) 662.00 (16.80)
Welded 1 494.00 (12.50) 879.00 (22.30)
50% Sodium Hydroxide
Base Metal 118.00 (3.00) 71.00 (1.80)
Welded 1 130.00 (3.30) 87.00 (2.20)
1 Autogenous weld on base metal sample.
2 Types 302 and 305 exhibit similar performance.
Information Data are typical and should not be construed as maximum or minimum values for specification or for final design. Data on any particular piece of material may vary from those shown herein.
In some cases, the low carbon Type 304L alloy may show a lower corrosion rate than the higher carbon Type 304 alloy. The data for formic acid, sulfamic acid and sodium hydroxide illustrate this. Otherwise, the Types 302, 304, 304L and 305 alloys may be considered to perform equally in most corrosive environments.
A notable exception is in environments sufficiently corrosive to cause intergranular corrosion of welds and heat-affected zones on susceptible alloys. The Type 304L alloy is preferred for use in such media in the welded condition since the low carbon level enhances resistance to intergranular corrosion.
RESISTANCE TO CORROSION: Intergranular Corrosion
Exposure of the 18-8 austenitic stainless steels to temperatures in the 800 Fº to 1500 Fº (427 Cº to 816 Cº) range may cause precipitation of chromium carbides in grain boundaries. Such steels are “sensitized” and subject to intergranular corrosion when exposed to aggressive environments. The carbon content of Types 302, 304, and 305 may allow sensitization to occur from thermal conditions experienced by autogenous welds and heat-affected zones of welds.
For this reason, the low carbon Type 304L alloy is preferred for applications in which the material is put into service in the as-welded condition. Low carbon content extends the time necessary to precipitate a harmful level of chromium carbides, but does not eliminate the precipitation reaction for material held for long times in the precipitation temperature range.
Intergranular Corrosion Tests
ASTM A262 Evaluation Test Material Type 302, 304, 305 Type 304L
Corrosion Rate
Mils/Yr (mm/a) Mils/Yr (mm/a)
ASTM A262, Practice B
Base Metal 20 (0.5) 20 (0.5)
Welded 23 1 (0.6) 1 20 (0.5)
ASTM A262, Practice E
Base Metal 2 4
Welded 3 4
ASTM A262, Practice A
Base Metal 5 5
Welded 6 5
1 Intergranular Corrosion.
2 No Fissures on Bend.
3 Some Fissures on Weld (unacceptable).
4 No Fissures.
5 Step Structure.
5 Ditched (unacceptable).
Information Data are typical and should not be construed as maximum or minimum values for specification or for final design. Data on any particular piece of material may vary from those shown herein.
RESISTANCE TO CORROSION: Stress Corrosion Cracking
The Type 302, 304, 304L and 305 alloys are the most susceptible of the austenitic stainless steels to stress corrosion cracking (SCC) in halides because of their relatively low nickel content. Conditions which cause SCC are:
  1. presence of halide ions (generally chloride),
  2. residual tensile stresses, and
  3. temperatures in excess of about 120°F (49°C).
Stresses may result from cold deformation of the alloy during forming, or by roller expanding tubes into tubesheets, or by welding operations which produce stresses from the thermal cycles used. Stress levels may be reduced by annealing or stress relieving heat treatments following cold deformation, thereby reducing sensitivity to halide SCC. The low carbon Type 304L material is the better choice for service in the stress relieved condition in environments which might cause intergranular corrosion.
Halide (Chloride) Stress Corrosion Tests
Test Material U-Bend: Highly Stressed Samples
Type 302, 304, 304L, 305
42% Magnesium Chloride 1 Base Metal Cracked: 01 to 20 hours
Welded Cracked: .5 to 21 hours
33% Lithium Chloride 1 Base Metal Cracked: 24 to 96 hours
Welded Cracked: 18 to 90 hours
26% Sodium Chloride 1 Base Metal Cracked: 142 to 1004 hours
Welded Cracked: 300 to 500 hours
40% Calcium Chloride 1 Base Metal Cracked: 144 hours
Welded
Ambient Temperature
Seacoast Exposure
Base Metal No Cracking
Welded No Cracking
1 Chemicals were brought to their boiling point.
Information Data are typical and should not be construed as maximum or minimum values for specification or for final design. Data on any particular piece of material may vary from those shown herein.
The above data illustrate that various hot chloride solutions may cause failure after differing lengths of time. The important thing to note is that failure eventually occurs under these conditions of chloride presence, high stresses and elevated temperatures.
RESISTANCE TO CORROSION: Pitting / Crevice Corrosion
The 18-8 alloys have been used very successfully in fresh waters containing low levels of chloride ion. Although Type 304 tubing has been used in power plant surface condenser cooling water with as much as 1000 ppm chloride, this performance can only result from careful cleaning of the tubes during use and care to avoid stagnant waters from remaining in contact with the tube. Generally, 100 ppm chloride is considered to be the limit for the 18-8 alloys, particularly if crevices are present.
Higher levels of chloride might cause crevice corrosion and pitting. For the more severe conditions of higher chloride levels, lower pH and/or higher temperatures, alloys with higher molybdenum content such as Type 316 or AL-6XN® alloy should be considered. Interestingly, Types 304 and 304L stainless steels pass the 100 hour, 5 percent neutral salt spray test (ASTM B117) with no rusting or staining of samples.
However, Type 304 building exteriors exposed to salt mists from the ocean are prone to pitting and crevice corrosion accompanied by severe discoloration. The 18-8 alloys are not recommended for exposure to marine environments.
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES: Density
0.285 lb / in³ (7.90 g / cm³)
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES: Modulus of Elasticity in Tension
29 x 106 psi (200 GPa)
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES: Linear Coefficient of Thermal Expansion
Linear Coefficient of Thermal Expansion
Temperature Coeficients
in/in/Fº cm/cm/Cº
68 - 212 20 - 100 9.2 x 10-6 16.6 x 10-6
68 - 1600 20 - 870 11.0 x 10-6 19.8 x 10-6
Information Data are typical and should not be construed as maximum or minimum values for specification or for final design. Data on any particular piece of material may vary from those shown herein.
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES: Thermal Conductivity
Thermal Conductivity
Temperature Range Btu/hr · ft · Fº W/m · Kº
212 100 09.4 16.3
932 500 12.4 21.4
Information Data are typical and should not be construed as maximum or minimum values for specification or for final design. Data on any particular piece of material may vary from those shown herein.
The overall heat transfer coefficient of metals is determined by factors in addition to the thermal conductivity of the metal. The ability of the 18-8 stainless grades to maintain clean surfaces often allows better heat transfer than other metals having higher thermal conductivity.
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES: Specific Heat
Specific Heat
Btu / lb / Fº J / kg · Kº
32 — 212 0 — 100 0.12 500
Information Data are typical and should not be construed as maximum or minimum values for specification or for final design. Data on any particular piece of material may vary from those shown herein.
PHYSICAL PROPERTIES: Magnetic Permeability
The 18-8 alloys are generally non-magnetic in the annealed condition with magnetic permeability values typically less than 1.02 at 200H. As illustrated below, permeability values will vary with composition and will increase with cold work. Type 305 with the highest nickel content is the most stable of these austenitic alloys and will have the lowest permeability when cold worked. The following data are illustrative:
Magnetic Permeability
% Cold Work 302 304 304L 305
0 1.004 1.005 1.015 1.002
10 1.039 1.009 1.064 1.003
30 1.414 1.163 3.235 1.004
50 3.214 2.291 8.480 1.008
Information Data are typical and should not be construed as maximum or minimum values for specification or for final design. Data on any particular piece of material may vary from those shown herein.

Credits:
Information Author: Allegheny Ludlum Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA.
Information Excerpted from the Allegheny Ludlum Technical Data Blue Sheet, Stainless Steels Chromium-Nickel Types 302 (S30200), 304 (S30400), 304L (S30403), 305 (S30500). Modified in content and format for presentation.
NIST Primary Traceability & ISO/IEC 17025 Accredited Laboratory
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NIST Report of Analysis 839.03-03-155
NIST Report of Analysis 839.03-05-168

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Copyright © 2006 CCSi, Inc. • All Rights Reserved • Published February, 2006
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