304 Stainless steel: how to choose and identify

Stainless steel products can often be seen in kitchen. They are beautiful, durable and easy to clean.

However, there are various type of stainless steel with huge differences between each other. Sometimes, safety problems are concerned and choose one from the crowd is a big issue. Especially when it comes to pot, tableware, etc. the materials become much more sensitive. So how can we distinguish them?

What is stainless steel?

What makes stainless steel different from each other is two elements: chromium and nickel. No chromium, no stainless steel. And the amount of nickel among them determines the value of stainless steel. The reason why stainless steel are able to maintain gloss in the air and have the properties of anti-rust is that it contains certain amount of chromium alloy elements (not less than 10.5%), which can make a strong oxide film-insoluble in some media in the surface of stainless steel.

With the participation of nickel, the performance of stainless steel is further improved. It has good chemical stability in air, water, steam, acid, alkali, and salt aqueous solutions. Even in high temperatures or low temperature environment, it still maintain its advantages of corrosion resistance.

Austenite is good in plasticity and toughness with low strength, so it is easy for processing and forming, and is non-magnetism. The austenitic stainless steel came out in Germany in 1913, and has always played the most important role in stainless steel. It accounts for about 70% of the total stainless steel production and usage.

304 stainless steel neither luxury nor cheap item

The properties of Corrosion resistance and the safety of 304 stainless steel are sufficient in kitchen daily uses. Higher grade 316 is often used in chemical, medical and other fields, with more stable chemical properties and more corrosion resistance. Austenitic 304 steel is relatively low in strength and is generally used in kitchen containers, while knives use harder martensitic stainless steel (420, 440), which are less resistant to rust.

201 and 202 stainless steel are relatively low-end compared to 304, and 201 and 202 were developed to replace some 304 stainless steel products.

How to choose?

The safety problem for stainless steel is in manganese. If the intake of heavy metals such as manganese exceeds a certain standard, it will cause certain damage to the nervous system, such as memory loss and depression. So can the use of stainless steel products such as 201 and 202 cause poisoning? The answer is ambiguous.

First of all, it is the lack of case proof in real life. In addition, in theory, there are no convincing results.

A classic argument in this type of discussion is that talking about toxicity without doses is useless.

How to identify these stainless steels?

For products with unreliable sources, the most reliable method is to send to the laboratory, but most consumers do not have this condition. Some believe that using magnets to detect magnetism is a means, and hold the view that austenitic 304 stainless steel is non-magnetic, while ferrite Martensitic and martensitic steels are magnetic. In fact austenitic 304 steel is not non-magnetic, but slightly magnetic.

Austenite steel will precipitate a small amount of martensite during cold working, and it has certain magnetic properties on the  surface, and 201 stainless steel is also slightly magnetic, so it is useless to adopt this approach.

Stainless steel detection potion is an option, which in fact approximately detects the content of nickel and molybdenum in stainless steel through complexes with specific color formed by Chemicals in the potion and nickel and molybdenum in stainless steel. 

 However, the on-site testing solution of stainless steel can not detect the content of other chemical components in stainless steel, such as chromium. Therefore, if one wants to know the precise data of each chemical component in stainless steel, he/she has to send it to professional testing.

After all, if it is available, choosing a reliable supplier is the way out. Haixu Co., Ltd. has been focusing on stainless steel for more than 20 years. We boast our high-quality products and wonderful service such as OEM service and customization. 👉Get to know us: http://gdhaixu.com