Is 304 Stainless Steel Magnetic? (Explained for Beginners)

• Post By: Brandon M. Fox  • Updated: 03/03/22
• Welding » Magnet

As a welder or metal worker, it is essential to know about all types of metals and steel. One such stainless steel is grade 304 steel. Due to its superior corrosion resistance and value, this type of still is the most widely used kind of stainless steel in the world.

But is 304 stainless steel magnetic? Stainless are magnetic, but pure stainless steel like the 300 series isn’t magnetic. But its magnetic properties aren’t that simple, and we will discuss in detail all about this further down in this article.

Most oxidizing acids will not cause 304 to corrode. Because of its durability, It is easy to disinfect, and hence it got many uses.

Want to know about is aluminum magnetic or nonmagnetic? Read this article.

Do you know its magnetic or not? The answer might surprise you!

Except for austenitic stainless steel, which is found in the 300 stainless steel series like 304 and 316. Only when it has been newly manufactured is 300 class stainless non-magnetic. After cold operations like pressing, blasting, cutting, and so on, 304 will very certainly turn magnetic.

Stainless steel’s magnetism characteristics are highly reliant on the components added to the alloy. Austenitic stainless steels are the most prevalent, with a greater chromium concentration and nickel added. The nickel alters the steel’s structural properties and renders it non-magnetic in theory.

When it comes to 304 stainless steel, it includes a minimum of 18% chromium and a maximum of 18% nickel. It’s austenite steel that’s just mildly magnetically sensitive. It also has 18–20 percent chromium and 8–10.50 percent nickel, as well as minor amounts of other metals.

What are some applications?

Grade 304 steel is the most prevalent austenitic stainless steel. You will find heavy amount of nickel and chromium which gives it outstanding corrosion resistance. Thus making it versatile stainless steel that you can use in various applications.

The usage is as follows.

  • Kitchen appliances sink.
  • Storage tanks.
  • All types of fasteners like screws, bolts, handles, plates, etc.
  • Food processing machinery.
  • Heat exchange pipes.
  • Piping.
  • Building structures.

How can you tell if your stainless steel is 304?

Stainless steel dominates the industry usage when compared to the approximately 60 distinct grades. However, if you wish to check specifically, then the guide below is just for you.

Using chemical reagents

The stainless steel identification reagent determines which stainless steel series may be recognized based on the nickel concentration. Using a dropper, pour a few drops of the reagent onto the stainless steel plate.

In most cases, the stainless steel identifying agent can create results in under two minutes. Different hues are associated with different kinds of stainless steel. If the bottom color grows slightly darker after 3 minutes and there is no change in color, this is genuine.

Using copper sulphate

At first, Stripe of the oxide layer from the steel using a few drops of water along with copper sulfate. There won’t be any physical color changes if it is stainless steel. If it becomes purple, it is non-magnetic high manganese steel, and magnetic steel is usually ordinary or low alloy steel.

Using magnet

We usually know that high-grade stainless steel is not magnetic. However, Keep in mind that when the chemical composition of 304 changes or the processing condition changes owing to the smelting process, it might seem magnetic.

As a result, the magnetic characteristics of these types of steel are not at the same level as those of stainless steel from other materials, implying that the magnetic properties of 304 steel are always weak.

This means that stainless steel should be evaluated as 304 if it is faintly magnetic or fully non-magnetic; if it is as magnetic as carbon steel, it will display high magnetism since it is not 304.

What are the benefits?

The advantages of 304 steel are numerous. It may be utilized in almost any situation and is remarkably adaptable due to its low carbon content.

Corrosion-resistant

The extra chemical component in stainless steel makes it far more corrosion-resistant than other stainless steel. This permits them to be utilized in highly acidic situations, damaging other steels

Carbon elimination

Another popular usage of 304 steel is in welding, and this is because it eliminates any carbon and magnet precipitation during the welding process. (Read here How do you weld a magnet?)

Food safety

Most surfaces react strongly with foodstuffs, altering their flavor, while grade 304 steel has no such effect. Many hotels, restaurants, and hospitals use this choice since it is the safest surface for food preparation. It also makes it quick and straightforward to sterilize the metal surface.

Easy maintenance

Stainless steel is very easy to clean, and maintenance is very basic. Furthermore, it is non-sticky, making it very suitable steel for various applications.

Conclusion

Question is it magnetic or not? The short and direct answer is no; However, it can show some magnetic properties, which are very weak. Hence, if you are going to buy steel, make sure to check it properly.

You can always use our guide that we included in this article to help you find stainless steel easily and not get fooled with any other stainless steel.

Brandon M. Fox

I have completed Diploma at Welding. I have spent 10+ years in Welding. Now love to write about welding and welding products and share my own experiences. Find me: Twitter | Facebook

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