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410 Stainless Steel vs 304: What Are Their Differences

Stainless steel is a versatile and widely used material in various industries due to its corrosion resistance, strength, and durability. The numbering of stainless steel mainly consists of four numbers, such as 304 and 410. The first two numbers (30 in 304 and 41 in 410) represent the percentage of chromium, while the last two numbers (04 in 304 and 10 in 410) represent the percentage of nickel.

Among numerous stainless steel models, 410 stainless steel and 304 stainless steel are the most common and popular. So, what is the difference between them?

Overview of 410 Stainless Steel

Overview of 410 Stainless Steel

410 stainless steel is a martensitic stainless steel that contains approximately 12% chromium and small amounts of elements such as carbon, silicon, and manganese. Compared with 304 stainless steel, 410 stainless steel has a lower chromium content and zero nickel content. This composition makes the corrosion resistance of 410 stainless steel slightly inferior to 304 stainless steel, but it has higher strength and hardness.It can replace some metals in CNC machining or other manufacturing processes.

Chemical composition of 410 stainless steel:

Iron (Fe): usually the main component with a high content.

Chromium (Cr): The content is usually between 11.5% and 13.5%.

Carbon (C): The content is generally below 0.15%.

Silicon (Si): The content usually does not exceed 1%.

Manganese (Mn): The content usually does not exceed 1%.

Phosphorus (P): The content does not exceed 0.04%.

Sulfur (S): The content does not exceed 0.03%.

Other elements: may contain small amounts of elements such as nickel (Ni), titanium (Ti), aluminum (Al), etc.

Overview of 304 Stainless Steel

Overview of 304 Stainless Steel

304 stainless steel, also known as 18/8 stainless steel, contains over 18% chromium and over 8% nickel. This type of stainless steel has a density of 7.93g/cm ³, It can withstand high temperatures up to 800 ℃ and has good processing performance and toughness.It is a common metal in CNC machining.

304 stainless steel is called austenitic stainless steel due to its composition (containing 18%), which has good forming and welding performance, high strength, corrosion resistance, and high strength. This type of stainless steel also has good deepening performance and can form various shapes. Unlike 302 type stainless steel, it does not require annealing (heat treatment to soften the metal).

It should be noted that food grade 304 stainless steel has stricter content indicators compared to ordinary 304 stainless steel. For example, internationally, the definition of 304 stainless steel is mainly 18% -20% chromium and 8% -10% nickel, while food grade 304 stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel, allowing for fluctuations within a certain range and limiting the content of various heavy metals. In other words, 304 stainless steel does not necessarily mean food grade 304 stainless steel. Common labeling methods in the market include 06Cr19Ni10 and SUS304, where 06Cr19Ni10 generally represents national standard production, 304 generally represents ASTM standard production, and SUS304 represents Japanese standard production.

Chemical composition of 304 stainless steel:

Chromium (Cr): The content is usually between 18% and 20%.

Nickel (Ni): The content is usually between 8% and 10%.

Manganese (Mn): The content is generally less than 2%.

Silicon (Si): Content less than 1%.

Phosphorus (P): The content is less than 0.045%.

Sulfur (S): The content is less than 0.045%.

Other elements: may contain small amounts of elements such as titanium (Ti) and aluminum (Al).

Is 304 stainless steel the Same as 410 stainless steel

Is 304 stainless steel the Same as 410 stainless steel?

No, 304 stainless steel is different from 410 stainless steel. Although both are types of stainless steel, and both can be applied to CNC machining, they have significant differences in chemical composition, performance, and application.

304 has higher corrosion resistance with more chromium and nickel, suitable for various applications like food processing. In contrast, 410 has lower corrosion resistance but higher hardness and strength, making it suitable for applications requiring wear resistance, such as in cutlery and industrial equipment.

What Are the Differences Between 410 stainless steel and 304?

Next, let’s compare in detail the differences between these two types of stainless steel:

1.Heat Treatment Regimens

For 304 stainless steel, the heat treatment temperature and cooling methods are as follows: ≥1040°C with water quenching or rapid cooling by other means.

For 410 stainless steel, the annealing treatment involves approximately 750°C with rapid cooling or 800°C~900°C with slow cooling.

Note: The chemical composition, mechanical properties after solution treatment, cross-referencing of stainless steel grades from various countries, characteristics, and applications, as well as heat treatment regimens, are all derived from the national standard “GB/T 3280-2015 Stainless Steel Cold-Rolled Steel Plate and Strip.” Physical property parameters are sourced from the national standard “GB/T 20878-2007 Stainless and Heat-Resisting Steels – Designation and Chemical Composition.”

2.Properties and Applications

304 Stainless Steel is the most widely used stainless heat-resistant steel, employed in various applications such as food equipment, general chemical equipment, and the atomic energy industry.

410 Stainless Steel possesses excellent corrosion resistance and machinability, making it suitable for general purposes and applications in the field of cutting tools.

3.Composition Differences

In 410 stainless steel, the composition includes 0.15% carbon, 13% chromium, 0.15% barium, 1.00% silicon, 1.00% manganese, 0.035% phosphorus, and 0.030% sulfur, with a chromium range of 11.50-13.50%. In comparison, for 304 stainless steel, the most crucial elements are nickel (Ni) and chromium (Cr), but not limited to these two elements. Common industry criteria consider a stainless steel to be 304 if the nickel content is greater than 8% and the chromium content is greater than 18%.

While nickel and chromium content are key factors determining the characteristics of 304 stainless steel, the role of other elements should not be overlooked. For instance, the addition of manganese enhances the strength and hardness of stainless steel, while the presence of phosphorus and sulfur affects its machinability and welding properties.

4.Different Applications

410 stainless steel is a type of stainless steel with high hardness and strength, often containing higher carbon content. Due to its excellent hardness and wear resistance, 410 stainless steel is commonly used to manufacture parts that require enhanced wear resistance and corrosion resistance, such as cutting tools, bearings, and valves. For example, in CNC machining, using 410 stainless steel can result in better cutting performance and longer lifespan, making it suitable for applications where parts require high wear resistance and strength.

In contrast, 304 stainless steel is a general-purpose stainless steel known for its good corrosion resistance and toughness. In CNC machining, 304 stainless steel is often used to manufacture parts that require excellent corrosion resistance, such as pipes, containers, and devices. Due to its superior corrosion resistance, 304 stainless steel is widely used in applications that demand resistance to oxidation and acidic or alkaline environments.

5.Differences in Physical Properties

410 stainless steel undergoes hardening after heat treatment, making it excel in applications that demand high strength. Due to its magnetic properties, 410 stainless steel is an ideal choice for situations requiring magnetic characteristics, such as manufacturing magnetic components or devices. However, it’s important to note that 410 stainless steel performs poorly in harsh corrosive environments and is not suitable for prolonged exposure to strong corrosive media.

In comparison to 410 stainless steel, 304 stainless steel has a density of 7.93 g/cm³ and is commonly referred to as 18/8 stainless steel. This type of stainless steel exhibits good high-temperature resistance, withstanding temperatures up to 800°C. It is a common choice for manufacturing various components and equipment. Due to its excellent corrosion resistance, it is particularly suitable for working in damp and corrosive environments.

410 Stainless Steel vs 304: How to choose?

Choosing between 410 stainless steel and 304 stainless steel typically depends on specific application requirements and performance needs. Here’s an example illustrating how to make a choice in a particular scenario:

Scenario: Manufacturing Components for Automotive Exhaust Systems

If Emphasizing Strength and Wear Resistance:

  • Choose 410 Stainless Steel: Due to its high hardness and strength, 410 stainless steel is an ideal choice for manufacturing components like cutting tools, bearings, and valves that demand high strength and wear resistance. In the context of an automotive exhaust system, exhaust valves and other high-wear components may benefit from the superior performance of 410 stainless steel.

If Prioritizing Corrosion Resistance and High-Temperature Performance:

  • Choose 304 Stainless Steel: For components in the automotive exhaust system that may be exposed to high temperatures and corrosive gases, such as exhaust pipes, 304 stainless steel is more suitable. Its corrosion resistance and high-temperature performance allow it to operate stably for extended periods in harsh environments.

If Comprehensive Performance is Needed:

  • Choose based on Specific Requirements: If exhaust system components require a balance of strength, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance, a balanced approach can be considered. For instance, using 410 stainless steel for parts that demand higher strength and wear resistance, and opting for 304 stainless steel for components with higher corrosion resistance requirements.

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In summary, there are differences between 410 stainless steel and 304 stainless steel in terms of material characteristics, corrosion resistance, magnetism, mechanical properties, and price. The choice of material depends on the specific application requirements. If there are higher requirements for strength and wear resistance, 410 stainless steel can be chosen; If better corrosion resistance and plasticity are required, 304 stainless steel can be chosen.


Is 410 or 304 stainless steel better?

410 stainless steel is suitable for applications requiring high strength and hardness, such as cutlery and tools. On the other hand, 304 stainless steel is more appropriate for situations requiring corrosion resistance, such as in the food industry and architectural structures. The choice depends on the specific mechanical properties needed and the environmental conditions of the application.

Can 410 stainless steel rust?

Yes, 410 stainless steel can rust under certain conditions. While it has good corrosion resistance compared to carbon steel, it is not as corrosion-resistant as some other stainless steel grades, such as 304 or 316. The corrosion resistance of 410 stainless steel depends on factors like the environment, exposure to chemicals, and the presence of corrosive agents. In environments with high levels of chloride or extreme conditions, 410 stainless steel may experience rusting. Regular maintenance and proper care can help minimize the risk of rusting in 410 stainless steel applications.

Which stainless steel grade is more suitable for welding?

Both 410 and 304 stainless steel can be welded, but 304 is generally considered more weldable. It has better formability and is less prone to cracking during welding compared to 410.

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