On many stainless steel products, we can see some numbers that are printed or written at the surface of a stainless steel. As for the examples are like 430, 304, 220, 18/8, 18/10 and many more. What are these numbers mean? Below, we will try to explain the meaning of these numbers.
First of all we will start with some examples of number like 302, 220, 430 and etc. Actually, these numbers mean the “Grade” of a stainless steel. What is grade? Grade refers to the durability, quality and also the temperature resistance. Meanwhile, the other numbers like 18/8, 18/10 and many more mean the composition of stainless steel. Usually, this thing refers to nickel chromium in a stainless steel product.
18/8 and 18/10 are two kinds of the most common grades that we usually find at some stainless steel products. These stainless steel products are usually used for preparing foods and also for dining. This type of stainless steel is also known with Type 304 or the 304 Grade. This is a part of 300 series. The first number, 18, it refers to the amount of chromium and the second number like number 8 (18/8) refers to the amount of nickel. For example, the 18/10 stainless is comprised from 18% chromium and also 8% nickel.
Meanwhile, the 304 grade is also meant that this stainless product is also comprised with no more than 0.8 % carbon and at least for about 50% iron material. What is the function of chromium? Actually, chromium will bind oxygen to the surface of stainless product. It will protect the iron from rust or from oxidation. Besides that, nickel can also enhance the resistance of corrosion in a stainless steel. Higher nickel content means that stainless steel will be more resistance to corrosion.
Sometimes you will also find a number like 18/0 in a stainless steel product. What is this mean? It means that the product contains for about 0.75% nickel and the corrosion resistance has been reduced. 18/0 also refers to the 430 type and it is a part of 400 series. The 400 series is unlike the 300 series because usually 400 series is magnetic.
The other number that you may find in a stainless steel is the 200 series. Usually, this product is cheaper than the 304 grade. Why it can happen? It is because the manufacturer is substituting nickel with manganese. Manganese is safe for food, but unfortunately this material is not as resistant to corrosion as the 304 grade. The 200 series is also having less quality than 3004 grade.
Many people may also though that the 18/10 stainless is heavier than the other type. However, it is not true. Actually, all of them have the same weight, but the additional nickel that is added on 18/10 make this stainless steel is a little bit sturdier. Besides that, this additional nickel also make this product is having a shinier surface than the other stainless steel.