316 stainless steel is one of the most widely consumed steel alloys worldwide and is the second most common grade of stainless steel on the market. Typically, stainless steels reach an inoxidizable state by protecting the iron (Fe) molecules in their crystalline structures from interacting with gases and liquids. Metallurgists achieve this by increasing the volume of chromium (Cr) within the alloy, which actively migrates to the surface of the material to form a corrosion-resistant patina. This is enhanced in 316 stainless steels due to their higher concentration of 2-3% molybdenum (Mo), which reduce the alloy’s susceptibility to corrosion from acids, caustic solutions, and chlorides.

There are two primary grades of 316 stainless steel: low and high carbon. This blog post will explore the properties and applications of both in further detail.

316L & 316H Stainless Steel

Standard 316 stainless steels can also be characterised as low-carbon alloys due to their minimal carbon content (~0.08%). Increasing the molybdenum content at the expense of carbon greatly reduces the risk of carbide precipitation at the grain boundaries during welding and forming, which can inhibit the corrosion-resistant properties of the alloy’s substrate.

316 stainless steels originated as the ideal alloy for the pulp and paper industry due to their immunity to sulphur (S) compounds. It was gradually adopted for marine applications due to its superior resistivity to chloride solutions such as seawater of varying salinity, and it is still broadly perceived as a marine grade alloy.

While not identical, 316L stainless is very similar to standard 316 stainless steel grades and the two are often dually-certified. 316H stainless cannot be certified in the same bracket as standard 316 stainless steel grades due to its higher carbon content (<0.10%). This imparts greater thermomechanical properties including higher operating temperatures and an average tensile strength of 515MPa.

316 Stainless Steels from Masteel

Masteel is one of the world’s leading suppliers of 316 stainless steel grades in both low and high carbon variations. These are widely used to fabricate a broad range of industrial and commercial products, including:

  • Heat exchangers;
  • Food and beverage processing equipment;
  • Pharmaceutical equipment;
  • Medical devices;
  • Marine fixtures;
  • Offshore structures.

If you would like any more information, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.