300 Series Stainless Steel Sheets
Also known as Type 18-8 stainless, the 300 series stainless steel family features a number of variations, including 301, 303, 304, 310, 316, 317, and more. Despite the number of compositions, the common factor between them is that they generally (emphasis on the generally) consist of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. Having said that, there are minor variations that make some 300 series alloys more corrosion resistant than others. For fabrication purposes, keep in mind that 300 series stainless cannot be heat treated, but does work harden rapidly, is ductile, and is austenitic (nonmagnetic). 304 and 316 are by far the most common variations in 99% of cases will more than meet the users requirements.
Type 304, #4 Finish: The #4 brushed finish is a sanded texture achieved by using 150 grit abrasive material. It has a PVC film on one side to provide protection against scratching. The #4 finish is commonly used on everything from residential and commercial kitchens and automotive customization, to medical equipment and high end furniture. You'll find it in commercial, industrial, healthcare, architectural, or residential applications where aesthetics and longevity are important.
Type 304, #8 Finish: The #8 polish finish is highly reflective and is used on everything from truck grills, to medical equipment, architectural accents, and whatever comes in between. #8 mirror polish sheets feature a removable, protective PVC film to ensure the final product is scratch free when installed.
Type 304, 2B Finish: The 2B mill finish is flat gray in color and is the most commonly used product in the 300 series of stainless steel. You'll find 304, 2B in almost every industry imaginable, due to the great balance of corrosion resistance and workability. This finish does not have a protective PVC film.
Type 316, 2B Finish: Same as the 304, this is a flat grey in color. 316, 2B is used in highly corrosive environments such as oil, pharmaceutical, chemical, marine, etc. Most residential and commercial applications do not require the use of 316 as 304 has more than adequate corrosion resistance.