Stainless Steel is a materiel used through many different industries, renowned for its exceptional corrosion resistance, durability and aesthetic appeal. Stainless steel is available in many different grades, but two of the main popular and used grades are 304 & 304L. These two grades stand out due to their versatility and reliability.


The main advantages of 304 & 304L

Corrosion Resistance : Both 304 and 304L stainless steel exhibit excellent resistance to corrosion in atmospheric, chemical, and marine environments.

Versatility : The versatility of 304 and 304L stainless steel stems from their exceptional mechanical properties, including high tensile strength, formability, and toughness, allowing for easy fabrication into various shapes, sizes, and products.


What is the the difference between 304 & 304L?

The main difference between 304 & 304L stainless steel comes from their carbon content levels. 304L is the reduced carbon content alternative to 304 stainless steel, the "L" stand for "Low Carbon". 304L is specifically designed to minimise the risk of carbide precipitation and sensitisation during welding or high-temperature processes, making it preferred for certain applications where welding is involved.


  • 304 Stainless Steel: It contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel, making it highly resistant to corrosion and oxidation under various environmental conditions.
  • 304L Stainless Steel: This low-carbon variant of 304 steel offers improved weldability and reduced risk of sensitisation during welding due to its lower carbon content, typically around 0.03%.


Main Applications for 304 & 304L


  • Food Processing Equipment: Due to its hygienic properties and resistance to corrosion from acidic food substances, 304/304L stainless steel is commonly used in food processing equipment such as tanks, piping, and storage containers.
  • Architectural Structures: The aesthetic appeal, durability, and low maintenance requirements of 304 stainless steel make it a preferred choice for architectural applications, including facades, handrails, and decorative elements.
  • Chemical Processing: Its resistance to corrosion from chemicals and high temperatures makes 304/304L stainless steel indispensable in chemical processing equipment such as reactors, heat exchangers, and storage tanks.
  • Medical Devices: The biocompatibility and sterilisability of 304 stainless steel render it suitable for medical devices, surgical instruments, and implants.
  • Automotive Components: In automotive manufacturing, 304/304L stainless steel finds utility in exhaust systems, catalytic converters, and structural components due to its corrosion resistance and strength-to-weight ratio.


D.S. Willetts are a leading supplier of 304 & 304L Stainless Steel, and can supply 304/304L Stainless in plates, profiles and other associated products. 304/304L Stainless profiles can be achieved by our in-house stainless profiling machines, with dedicated machines in Plasma, Saw & Guillotine on all our stocked stainless materials.


Stock for 304 & 304L range from 1mm Thick to 100MM Thick
Have any requirements for 304 & 304L Stainless? Get in touch today!


News

29Mar

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About Us

Established in 1986, D.S. Willetts (Stainless) specialise in the supply of stainless steel plates and profiles. Based in Bilston (Wolverhampton), D.S. Willetts (Stainless) also provide Laser, Plasma, Plate Saw, Band…read more →