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Type 304 stainless steel is a variation of the 18 percent chromium – 8 percent nickel austenitic alloy, the most familiar and most frequently used alloy in the stainless steel family. This alloy may be considered for a wide variety of applications where one or more of the following properties are important: resistance to corrosion, prevention of product contamination, resistance to oxidation, ease of fabrication, excellent formability, beauty of appearance, ease of cleaning, high strength with low weight, good strength and toughness at cryogenic temperatures, ready availability of a wide range of product forms.
This alloy represents an excellent combination of corrosion resistance and fabricability. This combination of properties is the reason for its extensive use which represents nearly one half of the total U.S. stainless steel production. Food and beverage, sanitary, cryogenic, and pressure-containing applications are examples.