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301 vs 304 Stainless Steel: The Difference Explained

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Looking to understand the difference between SUS301 and SUS304 stainless steel? Look no further!

In this informative blog post, we dive deep into the properties, strengths, and weaknesses of both materials, providing a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to make an informed decision.

From their chemical compositions to their suitability for various applications, we cover it all.

So whether you’re a designer, engineer, or simply curious about the world of stainless steel, this article is a must-read.

What’s the difference between SUS301 and SUS304?

SUS304 (stainless steel):

This is the most commonly used type of stainless steel. Due to its nickel content, it has better corrosion resistance and heat resistance than chromium steel.

It also has good mechanical properties and a high work hardening rate, making it ideal for use in structural brackets that require strength.

SUS304 is not magnetic and has good strength, but is less elastic. It is typically used in thicknesses between 0.4T to 1.0T. When used in Notebook applications, it is important to specify the appropriate grade in order to meet design requirements. The best option is generally 3/4H. For stretching and drawing applications, such as LCD brackets, 1/2H is typically recommended.

However, some companies now use SUS430 instead of SUS304 to save money.

SUS301 (stainless steel):

This type of stainless steel has a lower chromium content than SUS304, which makes it less corrosion-resistant. However, it can achieve very high tensile strength and hardness through cold working, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

Because of its elasticity, it is commonly used in Notebook applications for EMI shielding and elastic contact parts. However, it is typically used in thicknesses between 0.4T to 0.07T, and it is important to specify the appropriate grade in order to meet design requirements (such as elasticity and strength).

It should be noted that the direction of the metal crystal structure in 301 material affects its hardness and brittleness, with higher grades being harder and more brittle. If not handled properly during forming, this can lead to cracking in the corners and side walls.

Material Properties:

SUS301: Suitable for elastic applications, with high carbon content and hardness. It is not prone to elastic fatigue, but has poor ductility and is not easily drawn out.

SUS304: Not suitable for elastic applications, with low carbon content and low hardness (soft). SUS430: Contains more impurities, resulting in unstable hardness.

Note:

  • If the hardness of both materials is similar, such as SUS301 3/4H and SUS304 H, although the hardness is the same, SUS304 H is more likely to experience elastic fatigue when used in elastic products.
  • Material thickness affects hardness tolerance (the thicker the material, the larger the tolerance).

SUS301

Chemical composition of SUS301:

GradeSUS301
Chemicai composition
(WT%)
(C)≤0.15
(Mn)≤2.00
(Ni)6.00-8.00
(Si)≤1.00
(P)≤0.035
(S)≤0.030
(Nb)/
(Cr)16.00-18.00

Note:

Heat treatment specification: Solution treatment at 1010-1150℃ followed by rapid cooling.

Metallographic structure: The microstructure is characterized by austenite.

Delivery condition: Generally delivered in the heat-treated state, with the specific heat treatment type specified in the contract. If not specified, it will be delivered in the untreated state.

Mechanical properties of SUS301

GradeSUS301
Mechanical propertiesTensile strengthσb (MPa)≥520
Yield strength σs(Mpa)≥205
Elongation δs(%)≥40
Reduction of areaψ (%)≥60
Impact energy Akv
(J)
/
Impact toughness value α kv
(J/cm2)
/
Hardness/
Sample blank size/

Hardness: ≤187HB; ≤90HRB; ≤200HVK

GradeMechanical properties
     
SUS304ANN200max205min520min40min
SUS3041/2H250min470min780min6min
SUS3043/4H310min665min930min3min
SUS304FH370min880min1130min/
SUS301ANN200max205min520min40min
SUS3011/2H310min510min930min40min
SUS3013/4H310min745min1130min5min
SUS301FH430min1030min1320min3min
SUS301EH490min1275min1570min/

SUS 301 Density

SUS 301 has a density of 7.93 g/cm³.

SUS301 Hardness

MaterialHardness markHardness value
SUS3011/4H   250~above 250
SUS3011/2H  300~above 310
SUS3013/4H360~above 370
SUS301H400~ above 430
SUS301EHAbove 490

SUS304

“SUS” is a general term for Japanese steel grades. SUS304 is a Japanese JIS standard stainless steel, which corresponds to China’s 0Cr18Ni9 and the US’s 304.

Properties: It has good corrosion resistance, heat resistance, low-temperature strength, and mechanical properties. It has good hot working properties, such as stamping and bending, and does not exhibit hardening during heat treatment. It is non-magnetic.

Uses: household items, cabinets, indoor piping, water heaters, boilers, bathtubs, automotive parts, medical devices, building materials, chemical, food industry, agriculture, and ship components.

SUS304 Properties

GradeSUS304
Mechanical propertiesTensile strengthσb (MPa)≥520
Yield strengthσs (MPa)≥205
Elongationδ5 (%)≥40
Reduction of areaψ (%)≥60
Impact energyAkv (J)/
Impact toughnessValue/αkv
(J/cm2)
/
Hardness/
Sample blank size/

Hardness: ≤187HB; ≤90HRB; ≤200HV

SUS304 Density

SUS 304 has a density of 7.85 g/cm³.

SUS304 Stainless Steel Composition

GradeSUS304
Chemical composition (WT%)(C)≤0.07
(Mn)≤2.00
(Ni)8.00-11.00
(Si)≤1.00
(P)≤0.035
(S)≤0.030
(Nb)/
(Cr)17.00-19.00

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