Difference between 304 and 202 stainless steel

What is the difference between ss 304 and ss 202?

Both grades 304, as well as grade 202 stainless steel, belong to the austenitic class. This means that the microstructure of both stainless steel alloys is face-centered cubic. Since grade 304 is an alloy that falls under the 300 series stainless steel, this alloy inherits its austenitic structure primarily the inclusion of a higher content of nickel added to its alloy. On the other hand, grade 202 falls under the 200 series stainless steel. Grades that belong to the 200 series stainless steel, tend to substitute elements such as manganese and nitrogen in their chemistry, as an effective alternative for the element nickel. This being said, it is interesting to note that there still is a small inclusion of nickel content in their alloys.

How to Identify ss 304 and ss 202?

The most efficient way of identifying two different steel grades is by requesting the manufacturer for an MTR or what is referred to as a certified Material test report. So in addition to obtaining a more straightforward interpretation of the chemical makeup of each stainless steel alloy, it is also possible to procure a detailed report on both their mechanical properties, as well as their physical properties. However, in the market, it is possible to do a small test to gauge the difference. A spark test although inconclusive could separate the two grades. On running a grinder over the alloy, sparks for grade 304 do not fly, they have a reddish-orange tinge appearance and are thin. The grinder test for grade 202 yields thicker, yellow sparks that fly a lot. All manufacturers mark the ASTM number on their products to recognize, for example, ASTM A312 TP304 or ASTM A312 TP316L.

SS 304 and ss 202 uses and application

Applications for grade 304 stainless steel include Kitchen benches, sinks, troughs, equipment, and appliances in addition to Food processing equipment, particularly in beer brewing, milk processing & winemaking. Furthermore, because this alloy grade is stronger, and is very ductile, its use also includes Woven or welded screens for springs, mining, Heat Exchangers,  quarrying & water filtration, Architectural paneling, railings & trim, Chemical containers, including for transport along with its use as Threaded fasteners. On the other hand, grade 202 proves useful as various Kitchen Sinks, Cookery appliances, Hose clamps, Restaurant Equipment, Automobile trim, Railway bogeys, Trailers, as well as architectural treatments, for instance - windows or doors.

SS 304 and ss 202 Weldability

As with several austenitic alloys, it is possible to weld grade 202 by use of conventional fusion techniques. The alloy also permits the use of resistance methods for welding. However, this particular grade is not suited to be joined by the use of the oxyacetylene welding method. Yet, the higher content of carbon makes it prone to intergranular corrosion. Grade 304, which has a higher content of carbon faces a similar issue. But this is easily changed by altering the content of carbon in grade 304 to make it lower. Although the grade would become grade 304L, it is possible to get a dual certification. Hence, the revised grade becomes 304/304L, which could be welded using any traditional welding process. Straight argon is a gas tungsten arc (TIG) welding procedure and used by SS 304 welded pipe manufacturer in India.

The price difference between 304 and 202 stainless steel material

The cost of any stainless steel alloy will depend on the elements included in its chemical makeup. In comparison to grade 202, the alloy of stainless steel 304 contains nickel between 8% to about 10.5%, which is almost two times more than the former. Nickel, being a traded commodity has volatile prices. Since these prices fluctuate regularly, the inclusion of this element in alloys brings a significant rise in the totality of the cost of their production. This is why the expense of manufacturing austenitic stainless steel alloy 304 is higher than the grade 202.

SS 202 vs ss 304 which is better for a kitchen?

Although the corrosion resistance of grade 202 is lower, this particular alloy is a very economical one. So for regular kitchen equipment, utensils, or even sinks, it is better to use grade 202 stainless steel. On the other hand, for large scale industrial equipment, especially industries such as milk processing, beer brewing, & winemaking, the various equipment that are a part of these sectors may use grade 304 stainless steel. For a better deal buy directly from 202 stainless steel material manufacturers & suppliers in India.

AISI 304 chemical composition

AISI 304 304N 304LN
Ni 8 – 11 8 – 11 8 – 11
Fe Balance
Cr 18 – 20 18 – 20 18 – 20
C 0.08 max 0.08 max 0.035 max
Si 0.75 max 0.75 max 0.75 max
Mn 2 max 2 max 2 max
P 0.040 max 0.040 max 0.040 max
S 0.030 max 0.030 max 0.030 max
N 0.10 – 0.16 0.10 – 0.16

304 stainless steel properties

Stainless Steel Gr. 304
Rockwell B (HR B) max. 92
Brinell (HB) max. 201
Tensile Strength min. (MPa) 515
Yield Strength 0.2% Proof min. (MPa) 205
Elongation min. (% in 50mm) 40
Hardness -

304 stainless steel material equivalent grades and standard

SS 304 X5CrNi18-10 SUS 304 S30400 Z7CN18‐09 1.4301 304S31 08Х18Н10 2332

SS 202 grade chemical composition

Element Content (%)
Iron, Fe 68
Chromium, Cr 17- 19
Manganese, Mn 7.50-10
Nickel, Ni 4-6
Silicon, Si ≤ 1
Nitrogen, N ≤ 0.25
Carbon, C ≤ 0.15
Phosphorous, P ≤ 0.060
Sulfur, S ≤ 0.030

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