Grade 316 is the standard molybdenum-bearing grade, second in importance to 304 amongst the austenitic stainless steels. The molybdenum gives 316 better overall corrosion resistant properties than Grade 304, particularly higher resistance to pitting and crevice corrosion in chloride environments. It has excellent forming and welding characteristics. It is readily brake or roll formed into a variety of parts for applications in the industrial, architectural, and transportation fields. Grade 316 also has outstanding welding characteristics. Post-weld annealing is not required when welding thin sections.
Grade 316L, the low carbon version of 316 and is immune from sensitisation (grain boundary carbide precipitation). Thus it is extensively used in heavy gauge welded components (over about 6mm). Grade 316H, with its higher carbon content has application at elevated temperatures, as does stabilised grade 316Ti.
The austenitic structure also gives these grades excellent toughness, even down to cryogenic temperatures.
These properties are specified for flat rolled product (plate, sheet and coil) in ASTM A240/A240M. Similar but not necessarily identical properties are specified for other products such as pipe and bar in their respective specifications.
Excellent in a range of atmospheric environments and many corrosive media - generally more resistant than 304. Subject to pitting and crevice corrosion in warm chloride environments, and to stress corrosion cracking above about 60 °C. Considered resistant to potable water with up to about 1000 mg/L chlorides at ambient temperatures, reducing to about 500 mg/L at 60 °C.
316 is usually regarded as the standard “marine grade stainless steel”, but it is not resistant to warm sea water. In many marine environments 316 does exhibit surface corrosion, usually visible as brown staining. This is particularly associated with crevices and rough surface finish.
Good oxidation resistance in intermittent service to 870 °C and in continuous service to 925 °C. Continuous use of 316 in the 425-860 °C range is not recommended if subsequent aqueous corrosion resistance is important. Grade 316L
is more resistant to carbide precipitation and can be used in the above temperature range. Grade 316H has higher strength at elevated temperatures and is sometimes used for structural and pressure-containing applications at temperatures above about 500 °C.
Solution Treatment (Annealing) - Heat to 1010-1120 °C and cool rapidly. These grades cannot be hardened by thermal treatment.
Excellent weldability by all standard fusion methods, both with and without filler metals. AS 1554.6 pre-qualifies welding of 316 with Grade 316 and 316L
with Grade 316L
rods or electrodes (or their high silicon equivalents). Heavy welded sections in Grade 316 require post-weld annealing for maximum corrosion resistance. This is not required for 316L
. Grade 316Ti may also be used as an alternative to 316 for heavy section welding.
A “Ugima” improved machinability version of grade 316 is available in round and hollow bar products. This machines significantly better than standard 316 or 316L, giving higher machining rates and lower tool wear in many operations.
It is common for 316 and 316L
to be stocked in "Dual Certified" form - mainly in plate and pipe. These items have chemical and mechanical properties complying with both 316 and 316L
specifications. Such dual certified product does not meet 316H specification and may be unacceptable for high temperature applications.
Typical applications include:
Food preparation equipment particularly in chloride environments.
Laboratory benches & equipment.
Coastal architectural panelling, railings & trim.
Chemical containers, including for transport.
Woven or welded screens for mining, quarrying & water filtration.