Melt Practice

This austenitic stainless steel is initially electric-arc melted. Then as a refinement to the purity and homogeneity of the metal, 304LV is Vacuum Arc Remelted (VAR). This process yields a more uniform chemistry with minimal voids and contaminants. The "L" means low carbon as compared to 304V.

  ASTM A276
Chromium 18.00-20.00
Nickel 8.00-12.00
Carbon 0.030
Manganese 2.00
Molybdenum -
Silicon 1.00
Phosphorus 0.045
Nitrogen -
Sulfur 0.030
Iron Balance

Physical Properties
Density 0.285 lbs/in3
Modulus Of Elasticity 28.0 psi x 106
Electrical Resistivity 720 µohms-mm
Thermal Conductivity 16.3 W/mK (100°C)

Thermal Treatment

A reducing atmosphere is preferred for thermal treatment but inert gas can be used. 304LV will fully anneal at 1010-1121°C in just a few minutes. The precipitation of carbides that decreases corrosion resistance in other 300 series alloys is controlled by a reduced carbon content in 304LV.


The chemistry of 304L makes it less susceptible to "sensitization." This means when exposed to elevated temperatures, the corrosion resistance of the material is reduced. Because of this feature, this material is recommended when exposure to 427-649°C is likely. End uses include: catheters, guide wires, small parts made from straightened and cut wire and orthodontic uses.

Mechanical Properties
%CW Y.S.(psi) U.T.S.(psi) % Elongation
(10" gauge length)
0% 48,000 90,000 40%
20% 81,500 106,000 27%
37% 116,000 147,000 5.9%
50% 147,000 173,000 3.2%
60% 167,000 191,000 2.8%
68% 158,000 206,000 2.8%
75% 183,000 217,000 2.7%
80% 203,000 223,000 2.6%
84% 211,000 232,000 2.5%
90% 220,000 240,000 2.5%
93% 248,000 270,000 2.5%
95% 258,000 281,000 3.1%

Values are typical and may not represent all diameters. Test method will affect results.

Surface Condition

Stainless steels develop a highly polished appearance as they are drawn to fine diameters. Surface roughness can be less than 5 RMS when processed using SCND* dies and measured with a profilometer. Diameters over 0.040" are finished with polycrystalline dies and exhibit a rougher surface than natural diamond dies. Diameters over 0.100" will have an even rougher surface because they are drawn with carbide dies. Additional finish treatments can enhance the surface of the wire.

*SCND means single crystal natural diamond.