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316 Stainless Steel

Type 316 stainless steel is an austenitic stainless steel that has a number of highly beneficial advantages and applications and is used in a variety of different environments.

316 stainless steel

Austenitic stainless steel is the largest group of stainless steels and accounts for around 66% of all stainless steel production. Austenitic stainless steel has a very specific microstructure that is achieved by alloying steel with sufficient nickel and/or manganese and nitrogen. This very stable microstructure is then maintained at all temperatures.

The 300 series of austenitic steels are chromium-nickel alloys and is the most widely used group of stainless steels.

  •  – Type 304: The best-known grade is Type 304 and it offers the standard corrosion resistance, formability, strength, and easy maintenance for which stainless steel is known.
  •  – Type 316: The second most common austenitic stainless steel is Type 316. The addition of 2% molybdenum provides greater resistance to acids and localised corrosion caused by chloride ions. While 316 isn’t used as much as 304 it offers vastly superior corrosion resistance to chlorides and acids.

Type 316 is generally known to be durable, clean, easy-to-fabricate, weldable and has a good finish. It has so many different benefits that even though Type 316 costs a little more upfront, it can improve the functional lifespan of the steel products by years which means it can save companies vast amounts of money in the future.


316L and 316H Stainless Steel

Type 316L is a low carbon version of Type 316 which minimises carbide precipitation and is used extensively for welding applications. 316L is also a great stainless steel for high-temperature, high-corrosion uses, which is why it’s so popular for use in construction and marine projects.

Grade 316H is a high carbon modification of Alloy 316 developed for use in elevated temperature service. The alloy has higher strength at elevated temperatures and is used for structural and pressure vessel applications at very high temperatures.


Advantages of 316 Stainless Steel

There are lots of benefits of Stainless Steel 316 and these include the following:

  •  – It remains stronger at elevated temperatures for longer than Type 304
  •  – It has excellent weldability
  •  – It has great machinability
  •  – Corrosion resistance is good
  •  – Excellent pitting resistance
  •  – The austenitic structure gives it excellent toughness, even in cryogenic temperatures
  •  – Considered resistant to potable water
  •  – Superior Resistance to Chloride
  •  – Resistance to Corrosive Chemicals: The addition of molybdenum increases the metal’s resistance to acetic, sulfuric, and sulphurous acids as well as many industrial chemicals and solvents. These types of corrosive process chemicals are used to make a wide variety of products including inks, textiles, photographic chemicals, paper, textiles, rubber, and bleaches.
  •  – Better Resistance to Cracking & Pitting: 316 Stainless Steel offers a reduced risk to stress corrosion cracking, improved creep resistance, and better protection against pitting and crevice corrosion


Applications of 316 Stainless Steel

 These numerous advantages and benefits mean that 316 Stainless Steel is used in many different applications and environments which include the following examples:

  •  – Food preparation surfaces, equipment, and appliances, particularly in chloride environments
  •  – Laboratory benches & equipment
  •  – Coastal architectural panelling, railings & trim
  •  – Boat fittings
  •  – Chemical containers, including for transport
  •  – Heat Exchangers
  •  – Woven or welded screens for mining, quarrying & water filtration
  •  – Threaded fasteners
  •  – Springs
  •  – The storing and handling of acetic acid
  •  – It’s used in the pulp and paper industry to avoid iron contamination of the product, specifically Type 316 is used extensively in the paper machine.
  •  – Pressure vessels
  •  – Furnace parts
  •  – Valves & pumps
  •  – Pharmaceutical equipment
  •  – General chemical equipment
  •  – Stainless steel floats
  •  – Structural steel and components in marine environments
  •  – Medical equipment
  •  – Coastal environments
  •  – Areas with high salt levels (such as roadways)
  •  – Brewing facilities
  •  – Environments with increased exposure to alkalis and acids
  •  – Industrial equipment that handle corrosive process chemicals used to make such products as inks, textiles, bleaches, photographic chemicals, and rubber
  •  – Food preparation equipment particularly in chloride environments.
  •  – Architectural applications
  •  – Medical implants, including pins, screws and orthopaedic implants like total hip and knee replacements


Special Piping Materials and 316

Special Piping Materials has extensive experience in supplying Type 316 Stainless steel to clients and industries all around the world.

We have been stocking 316 and 316L in our warehouses in Scotland and Perth for many years and we are now stocking it in our UK headquarters in Manchester as well.

If you would like to enquire about our stock of 316 and our variety of different high specification stainless steel products, then contact the Special Piping Materials team here. Our knowledgeable staff will be able to understand and meet your requirements and let you know what products we have in stock, and how quickly we are able to source and ship more specific or unusual products. You’ll also be able to find out more about the large range of products we can source from some of the most reputable mills across the globe.

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