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.
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.