how to tell the difference between stainless steel 304 vs 316

SS 304 and 316 have some key differences. The latter is much stronger and more resistant to heat and acid. However, you may need to make a decision based on your intended application. Some reasons why you should use 316 instead of 304. So which is better? Read to learn why these two common Stainless Steel in use and why they are different? Here are some reasons that make 316 stainless steel better than 304. A few things to remember when choosing SS for your business.

Stainless steel 316 is more robust and heat resistant than SS 304

There is no easy answer when it comes to the question of whether 304 or 316 stainless steel is better. While they both feature a high degree of heat resistance and corrosion resistance, each has a different quality and is best used in specific applications.

Stainless steel 316 is a superior choice for marine environments because it is more resistant to chlorides than 304 stainless steel. 316 is generally preferred in such applications, such as marine equipment and other places prone to corrosion. Despite its higher melting point, 304 still has excellent corrosion resistance and is a cheaper alternative in most applications. But if corrosion resistance is your primary concern, 304 may be the better choice.

comparsion graph shows hot strength characterstics of types of stainless steel

Stainless steel 304 is easy to sanitize

Stainless steel 304 is a commonly used material for a wide variety of applications. It has the best corrosion resistance and is easy to sanitize. Its a good choice for food-handling applications. While 304 is easy to sanitize, it is susceptible to corrosion caused by oxidizing acids. It is also susceptible to chloride solutions and saline environments.

Stainless steel 304 is referred to as "A2" by ISO, whereas 316 is referred by "A4". A4 is a durable, and can be sanitized with a mild detergent. Because it does not form pores, 304 is easy to disinfect.

SS 316 is more resistant to acids, alkalis, and chloride pitting

SS is the best corrosion-resistant material for various applications. Stainless steel has several grades, each of which has different strengths and weaknesses. Type 304 is the most economical choice, but it lacks 316's chloride resistance. 316's higher price is worth it if the environment is highly chloride-prone. Other common consumer stainless steel grades include 430 and 409, but there are some differences.

Stainless steel 316 contains molybdenum, an element that improves the material's resistance to chloride, alkalis, and acidic environments. This material is commonly used in industrial applications, as well as in areas with high salt content. It is also used in surgical instruments. Alternative grades from 300 series can have up to 7% molybdenum, and are suitable for higher-exposure applications.

Which steel sheet is best for your application? Stainless steel 304 or 316? This really depends on your needs and application. Although both steel sheets are almost identical, type 316 is harder and more corrosion resistant than its counterpart. The differences between the two are primarily in their makeup material. The former is hardened by heat treatment, whereas the latter cannot. In addition, 316 is slightly more expensive.

Stainless Steel 316 is more corrosion resistant

Stainless steel alloys contain chromium and nickel, with a minimum content of 10.5% chromium. The amount of each element in the steel composition affects its properties and characteristics. The high chromium content in these steels prevents the corrosion of the surface from spreading to the internal structure of the metal.
316 carries at least two percent molybdenum, which is much more expensive.
Stainless steel 316 has a lower carbon content, which reduces the formation of chromium carbide precipitates at the grain boundaries. It also enhances the toughness of stainless steel after welding. While this grade of stainless steel was previously more expensive, it is more corrosion resistant than other grades. The lower carbon content also minimizes the effects of carbide precipitation during the welding process. These qualities make 316 a desirable choice for marine applications and surgical implants.

SS 316 cannot be hardened by heat treatment

Hardness of Stainless steel 304 and 316 cannot be hardened further by heat treatment, but cold-working can increase the strength and tensile strength of 304 SS materials. The first step in the process is solution-treating 304 stainless steel at 1010-1120 deg C, followed by rapid cooling. Since 304 stainless steel is austenitic, it cannot be through-hardened, and cold working can increase its strength. In addition to being non-hardenable, SS 316L offers improved corrosion resistance and strength. The nitrogen content of this steel counteracts the decrease in strength. Ferritic steels, on the other hand, cannot be hardened or annealed, which makes them difficult to weld. AISI 430 is one such alloy with excellent corrosion resistance.

SS 316 is more expensive

If corrosion resistance is an important factor, you may wish to consider stainless steel 316. This grade is more expensive than 304, but is still a superior choice if your application involves water. If you are only interested in stainless steel price rate, you can save money by using 304 instead. These two types of stainless steel are not similar in price, but 316 is better at resisting corrosive environments. 304 is an austenitic stainless steel, meaning that it has a high nickel content. 316 is a higher-quality alloy, which has a tensile strength of 579 MPa and a maximum use temperature of 800 deg C. However, grade 316 is also more expensive than grade 304 due to the additional addition of molybdenum, which increases its resistance to chloride-based environments.

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