The 304 stainless steel I-beam is a chromium-nickel grade of metal. It contains 8 percent nickel and 18 percent chromium. It is a readily machinable metal that has great formability and weldability. It has good corrosion-resistance and is even able to resist intergranular corrosion, which can occur after welding or stress relieving. Because it has a low content of carbon, it can be safely used in most welded construction operations that use temperatures no higher than 800 degrees F. 304 stainless steel is a non-magnetic grade of metal when it is in the annealed condition.
Heat treatment can’t be used to harden this metal. In order to achieve tensile strength and hardness, cold working must be done. When cold working is used, slight magnetism may occur. It is very common for 304 steel to be used for parts that require grinding, welding, polishing and machining, along with corrosion resistance. Because of its ability to handle corrosive environments, it is considered a general all-purpose grade of steel. It is commonly used in chemical industries and for cryogenic services. It is capable of being used for parts that handle harsh products like organic and inorganic chemicals, acetic acid, citric acid, and crude oils. Since it has a low instance of magnetism, 304 stainless steel can be used for instruments. It’s also frequently used for architectural trimming.
This metal has a machinability rating at 45 percent of B1112 and has great weldability, except when hammer or forge welding is used. When welded, 304 alloy has ductility and toughness. It’s recommended to perform annealing once forging is complete, in order to maintain maximum resistance to corrosion.