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Everything You Need To Know About Stainless 316 Steel | Whateven
Everything You Need To Know About Stainless 316 Steel

By: @David_Neeble


316 stainless steel is the most common type of steel, and this is because of its superior properties and a wide range of applications.

Stainless 316 steel and its close counterpart grade 316L and which are also referred to as types 1.4401 and 1.4404 respectively are used in most commercial constructions. This type of steel has austenitic properties meaning they are non-magnetic, contains low carbon levels and high chromium and nickel levels. Because of these properties, 316 stainless steel tube price is generally higher compared to the other grades. 

316 Stainless Steel

The other reason why 316 stainless steel tube price is higher than other grades of steel is that it has additional molybdenum, a compound that increases its corrosion resistance. This makes it suitable for use in places where the metal will most likely come into contact with chloride elements.

Stainless 316L Steel

This grade of steel is very similar to grade 316, only that it contains much lesser carbon. Carbon levels beyond the accepted levels are usually responsible for steel breakage that consequently leads to collapsing of structures. The low carbon property makes it the most ideal for use in large standard joint constituent.

Stainless Grade 316H and 316Ti Steels

This grade is a version of 316 steel that contains the highest quantities of carbon though within the acceptable levels. The 316Ti types are also known as the stabilized version, and both grades are used in intense heat applications.

The austenitic characteristic of the stainless 316 steel makes it a very resilient metal, meaning it can be used in high temperatures as well as extremely low temperatures.

Stainless 316Ti steel grade contains traces of titanium, as little as up to 0.5%. This element serves as a stabilizer to the elements contained in grade 316 such that the steel can withstand high temperatures, beyond 8000℃. This property guards against corrosion from carbide atmospheric conditions along the grain boundaries. This means that 316Ti steel can survive in extremely high-temperature situations and precipitation will not take place. Most of its other features are similar to the other grades in the 316 categories.

Corrosion Resistivity of Stainless 316 Steel

All the sub grades under the 316 category are resistant to corrosion when they get exposed to possibly caustic environments. Because of this property, it is commonly known as “marine steel” even though it still cannot withstand the hot and salty seawater. The warmth in the water and the high salt content corrodes the grain. Again, when subjected to temperature levels of over 600℃, Grade 316 steel may tend to corrode.

Heat Sensitivity of Stainless 316 Steel

This grade of steel has high resistance to oxidation in sporadic service of up to 8700℃ and uninterrupted service of up to 9250℃. Uninterrupted use is however not advised at temperatures of between 425℃ and 8600℃ if it comes in to contact with water frequently. This results in corrosion. In such a case, grade 316L is the most preferred because it is more resistant to carbide precipitation.

When high tensile strength is needed at heat levels of around 5000℃, the most recommended grade is 316H.Heat Sensitivity of Stainless 316 Steel

This grade of steel has high resistance to oxidation in sporadic service of up to 8700℃ and uninterrupted service of up to 9250℃. Uninterrupted use is however not advised at temperatures of between 425℃ and 8600℃ if it comes in to contact with water frequently. This results in corrosion. In such a case, grade 316L is the most preferred because it is more resistant to carbide precipitation.

When high tensile strength is needed at heat levels of around 5000℃, the most recommended grade is 316H.

Fabricating Structures Using Grade 316 Stainless Steel

There are specific tools that are meant to be used when fabricating steel. The tools, together with the steel being worked on, must be cleaned thoroughly before starting the process. This process is essential because a dirty surface will most likely contain contaminants that eventually discolor the finished product.

Grade 316 Cold Working

Because of its low carbon levels, grade 316 stainless steel is more comfortable to use. It is easily malleable into the required finished product. In as much as it can be quickly stamped and drawn on, it needs tempering to reduce the internal stress. The cold working process strengthens and hardens the Grade 316 steel.

Grade 316 Hot Working

This grade of steel can be fabricated using the hot working process but is not recommended below temperatures of 9270℃. The best range for hot working is between 1149℃ and 12600℃. After fabrication, tempering is recommended to achieve the highest levels of corrosion resistivity.

Hardening by Heat Treatment

It is not recommended to harden Stainless 316 steel by heat treatment. The best way to go about the hardening process is cooling faster after heating at a temperature of between 1010℃ and 11200℃.

Uses of Grade 316 Stainless Steel

Initially, its main application was in the construction of paper mills. This has however expanded to include:

  • Food processing plants
  • Distillation, milk processing, and medicine production plants
  • Boat fixtures
  • Kitchen ware
  • Bolts, nuts, and screws
  • Sinks and other sanitary wares
  • Tubes
  • Chemical and petroleum equipment

The grade 316 stainless steel is supplied as a finished product in the form of sheet, plates, pipes, strip, tube, bars and at times fittings and rims. 

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