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What’s the distinction between 316 and 304 stainless steel? Does stainless steel mean that does not rust?
What’s the distinction between 316 and 304 stainless steel? Does stainless steel mean that does not rust?

The material of stainless steel may not strange for us. In our life, there are lots of things made of stainless steel. When choosing household stainless steel products, we tend to see a string of numbers before the word, stainless steel, and the most common are 316 and 304 stainless steel. What do these numbers mean? And how do we choose from them?

Stainless steel isn't just rust-free.

As we all know, the main component of steel is iron. The chemical property of iron is pretty active, and iron is easy to react with the surrounding stuff. One of the most common is the oxidizing reaction, where iron reacts with the oxygen in the air, which is also commonly known as rust.

Putting some impurities (mainly including chrome) into the steel makes it become stainless steel. But we see from its whole name, stainless acid-resistant steel, that its ability is not just rust-free. It must be both antioxidant and acid corrosion resistance for stainless steel.

All stainless steels are resistant to oxidation, but the ability to resist acid corrosion is different (sometimes we see the surface of some stainless steel is still rusty because of the acid corrosion) for the distinction of the impurity categories and proportion in it. To identify the acid corrosion resistance of these stainless steel, people rule the different grades for stainless steel.

304 and 316 stainless steel

304 and 316 are comparatively common stainless steel grades in our life. We can understand that the greater the grades, the stronger the ability of stainless steel acid corrosion.

Some stainless steels possess less acid corrosion resistance than 304 stainless steel, but those stainless steel can not touch foods. The daily food may rust the stainless steel, which is bad for people's health and the stainless steel. For example, the stainless steel railing is made of 206 stainless steel.

Some stainless steel types possess stronger acid corrosion resistance than 316 stainless steel, but those stainless steels' cost is pretty high. The stuff that can rust them is rare in our life, so we don't have to invest excessively in that aspect.

Food grade stainless steel

First of all, no stainless steel is stipulated as food-grade stainless steel in the standard. In the "National Standard of Stainless Steel Products for Food Safety (GB 9684-2011)", a series of stainless steel corrosion resistance requirements for food contact are stipulated.

Afterward, people discovered that the lowest standard that can meet the requirement is 304 stainless steel by comparing these demands. Then people believe that 304 stainless steel is food-grade stainless steel. When we read at this point, it is evident that it is not true for this comment. The 316 stainless steel possesses stronger acid corrosion resistance than 304, which results in 316 stainless steel is more likely to become food-grade stainless steel.

The final problem: which should we choose from 304 and 316 stainless steel for the household?

It is enough to go for 304 stainless steel for a suitable position, such as faucet, water channel, commodity shelf, etc. As for some stainless steels close exposed to various food, such as cookware, water cup, etc., you can choose 316 stainless steel. 304 stainless steel will be corroded when it contacts the diary products and sodas. If you want to understand the stainless steel price, please contact the professional manufacturer, Shinningstar. E-mail: [email protected]

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