304 stainless steel expanded metal is an austenitic grade metal that is widely used for parts that need welding, machining, polishing or grinding, plus good resistance to corrosion. This metal is considered safe because it has a low content of carbon, when worked in temperatures not exceeding 800 degrees F. This is why it’s highly used in food, dairy, and beverages industries, which require a high degree of sanitation and cleanliness. This metal is also used for making kitchen items like saucepans, sinks, and hollow-ware. It’s also used to create architectural trim.
The machinability rating for 304 stainless steel is 45 percent of B1112. When cutting this metal, the average speed is 75 feet per minute. Forging can also be done using this alloy, which should be done in temperatures that range between 2100 and 2350 degrees F. It’s recommended that you not forge 304 steel in temperatures below 1700 degrees F. When welding 304 steel, it has great ductility and toughness. It’s recommended that annealing be done after forging this metal, so to maintain high corrosion resistance levels.
Heat treating can’t be used to harden and strengthen this steel, but cold working can. The range of temperature for annealing should be between 1850 and 2050 degrees F. It cools rather quickly, but water can be used for the areas that are heavier. Lighter areas can be air cooled. The stress relief point for 304 steel is between 400 and 750 degrees F. This metal can be deep drawn severely, which is why it’s used frequently for hollow applications. When doing severe forming or spinning, in order to relieve stresses it causes, it’s recommended that the metal be stress relief annealed or full annealed right after.