316 Stainless Steel Properties

316 Stainless Steel Properties: Everything You Need To Know


316 stainless steel properties encompass a blend of exceptional features and a broad range of applications. This write-up provides a detailed analysis of stainless steel 316 composition and the aisi 316 mechanical properties. We dive deep into its chemical makeup, aisi 316 properties, fabrication techniques, resistance to corrosion and heat, and its numerous industrial uses. The write-up also draws a comparison between 316 stainless steel and 316L stainless steel and sheds light on the use of 316 stainless steel in famous architectural structures.

A Glimpse into 316 Stainless Steel Properties

Belonging to the austenitic stainless steel category, 316 stainless steel is recognized for its corrosion resistance, high-temperature strength, and excellent mechanical properties. The ss 316 material properties include non-magnetic properties and the ability to withstand extreme temperatures, making it a sought-after choice for various industrial applications.

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316 stainless steel properties like corrosion resistance can be attributed to its high chromium (16-18%) and nickel (10-14%) content. Its suitability for corrosive environments, including marine and chemical settings, is a testament to its excellent resistance. 316 stainless steel is considered a marine grade metal.

316 Stainless Steel Properties

Alongside corrosion resistance, 316 stainless steel also showcases excellent high-temperature strength, maintaining its ss 316 material properties even at elevated temperatures. This makes it an ideal choice for applications requiring heat and thermal expansion resistance. Furthermore, the 316 stainless steel yield strength makes it a fitting choice for heavy-load applications.

316 Stainless Steel Properties: Composition

To fully grasp the 316 stainless steel properties, it is crucial to understand the stainless steel 316 composition:

  • Carbon (C) is capped at 0.080% ensuring optimal weldability.
  • Chromium (Cr) content of 16 to 18% significantly enhances corrosion resistance and tensile strength.
  • Iron (Fe) constitutes the majority of the composition.
  • Manganese (Mn) improves hot-working properties and stabilizes the austenitic structure.
  • Molybdenum (Mo) enhances corrosion resistance, creep resistance, and strength at high temperatures.
  • Nickel (Ni) contributes to improved forming properties and enhanced corrosion resistance.
  • Phosphorus (P) improves machinability.
  • Silicon (Si) increases scaling resistance at high temperatures.
  • Sulfur (S) improves machinability.

Both 316 and 316L stainless steel contain significant molybdenum additions, enhancing their corrosion resistance, especially in chloride environments when it comes to pitting and crevice corrosion. Furthermore, the low carbon content of 316L makes it suitable for welding applications.

AISI 316 Mechanical Properties

316 stainless steel is renowned for its excellent aisi 316 mechanical properties. The Brinell hardness for sheet and stainless steel plate is 163 and 150 respectively. The Rockwell B hardness is 85 for sheet and 81 for plate. The 316 ss yield strength is 90k psi for sheet and 85k psi for plate. Its yield strength and elongation properties make 316 stainless steel a strong and reliable choice for various applications.

Physical Properties of 316 Stainless Steel

The 316 ss density is approximately 8g/cc in the metric system and approximately 0.289 lb/in³ in the English system. 316 stainless steel material properties like density are essential in determining the weight and volume of materials needed for specific projects and how the material interacts with fluids.

Fabrication and Machinability of 316 Stainless Steel

The fabrication of 316 stainless steel involves various methods and techniques. But, stainless steel should only be worked with tools that are dedicated to stainless steels to reduce the risk of cross contamination with other metals that can discolor the surface of the fabricated stainless steel product.

Cold Working stainless steel 316

Cold working is a common method that enhances the steel’s mechanical properties. Stainless steel 316 can be brake or roll formed, as well as stamped, headed, and drawn. Cold forming will increase the strength and hardness of the alloy and may leave it slightly magnetic. Sometimes, post work annealing is required to relieve internal stress.

Hot Forming stainless steel 316

Working temperatures of 1700–2200°F (927–1204°C) are recommended for most hot working processes. For maximum corrosion resistance, the material should be annealed at 1900°F (1038°C) minimum and water quenched or rapidly cooled by other means after hot working.

Welding stainless steel 316

Welding techniques like TIG or MIG are critical. The use of compatible filler material with 316 stainless steel is essential for the best results. A post weld heat treatment is not necessary.

Machining stainless steel 316

Stainless steel 316 has good machinability. Factors like cutting speed, feed rate, tool selection, and coolant usage influence the machinability of 316 stainless steel. The best machining results are achieved with slower speeds, heavier feeds, excellent lubrication, sharp tooling and powerful rigid equipment.

316 stainless steel properties - about to ship

Corrosion Resistance of 316 Stainless Steel

All standard grades of stainless steel contain iron, carbon, and a minimum of 10.5% chromium, the element responsible for the inherent corrosion resistance of the alloy. All stainless steels resist corrosion, although the degree of resistance to attach by many common chemicals, food products, and other materials is variable.

The superior corrosion resistance of 316 stainless steel, a notable 316 stainless steel property, is due to the presence of molybdenum. This makes it suitable for marine environments, chemical processing plants, and coastal areas. It exhibits excellent resistance to sulfuric acid, acetic acid, and phosphoric acid, making it a preferred choice in various industries.

316 stainless steel is considered a “marine grade” stainless steel, but it is not resistant to warm sea water. Warm chloride environments such as that found in warm sea water can cause pitting and crevice corrosion. Add to that that it is subject to stress corrosion cracking above temperatures of 60°C.

Heat Resistance of 316 Stainless Steel

Another crucial 316 stainless property is its excellent heat resistance. It maintains its strength and integrity when exposed to high temperatures, making it suitable for use in extreme conditions. Its excellent oxidation resistance ensures durability and longevity in demanding environments.

316 stainless steel is heat resistant all the way up to 1700° C, with intermittent resistance to oxidation up to 870° C and continuous resistance up to 925° C, but it is not recommended to keep the metal at higher temperatures if its environment also requires corrosion resistance, for example in saltwater. If the metal is in an environment requiring corrosion resistance, it is not recommended that the metal stay between temperatures of 425° C and 860° C. In that instance, 316L is recommended because of its carbide precipitation resistance.

Applications of 316 Stainless Steel

The 316 stainless steel properties make it suitable for a wide range of applications across industries. It is commonly used in the marine industry, chemical processing, food service industry, pharmaceutical industry, architecture and construction, and in medical devices.

Specific applications for 316 stainless steel can include pharmaceutical equipment, coastal architectural paneling, enclosures, frames, laboratory benches and equipment, coastal balustrading, chemical transportation containers, heat exchangers, and more.

316 Stainless Steel vs. 316L Stainless Steel

316 stainless steel and 316L stainless steel, or material 316L stainless steel, are two commonly used grades, each with different properties and applications. The ‘L’ in 316L stands for ‘low carbon,’ which improves weldability and resistance to grain boundary carbide precipitation, otherwise called sensitization.

Both 316 and 316L stainless steel possess similar mechanical properties. However, for enhanced weldability and resistance to sensitization, 316L stainless steel is the better choice. 316L is especially well suited for use in heavy gauge welded components over 6mm.

316 and 316L are often available dual-certified by stainless steel suppliers and service centers.

316 Stainless Steel in Landmarks and Architecture

316 stainless steel is widely used in numerous landmarks and architectural structures worldwide. Notable examples include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. These examples demonstrate the significance of 316 stainless steel in architecture due to its exceptional 316 stainless properties and aesthetic appeal.

What 316 stainless steel is available at Kloeckner Metals?

Kloeckner Metals stocks 316/316L stainless steel in 2B:

Gauge – Width Length Est. Lbs. Per Sheet
No. 13 (.090ʺ – 3.780 Lbs. Sq. Ft.) 36 x 120 113.40
No. 14 (.075ʺ – 3.150 Lbs. Sq. Ft.) 36 x 96 75.6
36 x 120 94.5
48 x 96 100.8
48 x 120 126.0
48 x 144 151.2
60 x 144 189.0
No. 16 (.060ʺ – 2.520 Lbs. Sq. Ft.) 36 x 96 60.48
36 x 120 75.6
48 x 96 80.64
48 x 120 100.8
48 x 144 121.00
No. 18 (.048ʺ – 2.016 Lbs. Sq. Ft.) 36 x 96 48.38
36 x 120 60.48
48 x 96 64.51
48 x 120 80.64
48 x 144 96.77
No. 20 (.036” – 1.512 Lbs. Sq. Ft.) 36 x 96 36.29
36 x 120 45.36
48 x 96 48.38
48 x 120 60.48
48 x 144 72.58
No. 22 (.030ʺ – 1.260 Lbs. Sq. Ft.) 36 x 96 30.24
  36 x 120 37.80
  48 x 120 50.40
No. 24 (.024ʺ -1.008 Lbs. Sq. Ft.) 36 x 96 24.19
  36 x 120 30.24
  48 x 96 32.26
  48 x 120 40.32
No. 26 (.018ʺ – .7560 Lbs. Sq. Ft.) 36 x 96 18.14

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Kloeckner Metals is a full-line stainless steel sheet & plate supplier and service center. Kloeckner Metals combines a national footprint with the latest fabrication and processing technologies and most innovative customer service solutions.

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Natalie Spira
Natalie Spira is Kloeckner's Acquisition Marketing Manager. Previously, she was the Founder and CEO of Fraction Marketing, a marketing agency providing fractional support to scaling startups with a focus on acquisition marketing and demand generation. Natalie holds a MBA from Tel Aviv University with concentrations in entrepreneurship and marketing and a BA in English from UCLA.
316 Stainless Steel Properties
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