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    Table of Contents

    316 stainless steel or SS 316 is a highly robust and corrosion resistant form of austenitic stainless steel. It’s a steel alloy containing chromium, nickel and molybdenum, along with other elements that gives it its unique properties. It’s the second most popular form of stainless steel, after 304 grade SS. It’s a strong and durable steel that makes it suitable for use in marine and saline environments, chemical processing and pharmaceutical equipment. It’s used across industries that require long-term durability – from shipbuilding to medical implants. We take a look at SS 316 chemical composition, its features and properties, grades, industrial applications, SS 316 price in India and what makes SS 316 a popular choice.

    What is 316 stainless steel?

    Stainless steel is made of iron and chromium – which enhances its properties. Grade 316 SS is a special alloy steel that contains – chromium (16% – 18%), nickel (10% – 14%) and molybdenum (2% – 3%). Chromium helps in creating a metal oxide thin film on the surface of a metal to protect it against corrosive materials, especially chlorides.

    The alloy is manufactured melting all these components together for uniformity of chemical properties. Once melted, it is formed into SS 316 sheets, bars, or any other. This versatility allows 316 grade SS to be used across multiple industries.

    What material is 316 SS?

    316 stainless steel is made up of chromium (16% – 18%), nickel (10% – 14%), molybdenum (2% – 3%) and small portions of carbon.

    The presence of molybdenum makes it resistant to corrosion and oxidation making it a suitable metal for use in harsh conditions and coastal/saline and acidic environments. It’s also a highly strong metal and durable and used in high-stress situations where long-term performance is essential.

    Also read: Steel corrosion – What are the different types of corrosion in steel, its impact, and how to prevent it

    Chemical composition of stainless steel 316

    Stainless steel 316 is a popular stainless steel grade. Its unique blend of elements enhances its overall functionality and resilience.

    Let’s take a look at its main chemical composition of SS 316:

    Element % composition Key features
    Chromium 16% – 18% Forms a protective oxide layer and enhances resistance to corrosion
    Nickel 10% – 14% Improves strength and ductility and enables to maintain the structure even at high temperatures
    Molybdenum 2% – 3% Increases resistance to chloride pitting and corrosion on crevice
    Manganese Up to 2% Enhances the steel’s structural strength
    Silicon Up to 1% Enhances durability and resistance to wear
    Nitrogen Up to 0.10% Increases mechanical strength and resistance to corrosion
    Sulphur Up to 0.03% Improves machinability

    *This is a general table. Please refer to your steel supplier for exact details on steel’s chemical compositions.

    These elements collectively enhance the alloy’s performance in harsh environments and demanding applications. A comparison between the chemical composition of SS 316 with the composition of stainless steel (standard) will reveal that it is the percentage variation in elements that gives the grades its unique properties.

    Which is better SS 304 or 316?

    A common question asked about Stainless Steel grades is – Which is better SS 304 or 316?

    Stainless steel 304:

    Stainless steel 304 grade is the more popular type. Its widely used in numerous applications (especially everyday use) such as kitchenware, food and beverage industry, etc. It is strong, highly ductile, and can withstand high temperatures. It is also corrosion resistant (mainly from oxidizing acids) and more affordable than Grade 316 SS.

    Stainless steel 316:

    However, SS 316 grade’s uniqueness is in its presence of molybdenum. This makes the steel more resistant to corrosion across acidic, saline and coastal environments and suitable for use in environments with greater exposure to salt and chloride and harsh environments.

    It should however be remembered that though 316 stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion it is not immune to rust. Stainless steel rust can gather over the years in specific conditions – heat, grease, saline, acidic environments, etc. With proper precaution and care however, steel rusting can be prevented and delayed.

    Though there are differences between SS 316 and SS 304 grades, they are both highly versatile and robust. They are weldable and durable and can be used in a wide range of applications. 316 stainless steel is generally more expensive than 304 stainless steel due to the higher levels of nickel content contained within 316, as well as the presence of molybdenum.

    Properties of stainless steel 316

    In the next section, we will take a look at the chemical and physical properties of 316 grade stainless steel.

    Chemical properties of 316 grade stainless steel

    Grades Stainless steel 316 bar and section Stainless steel sheet Stainless steel 316 plate
    Tensile strength 500 to 700 530 to 680 520 to 670
    Proof stress 200 Min 240 Min 220 Min
    Elongation A50 mm 40 Min % 40 Min % 45 Min %
    Hardness Brinell 215 Max HB

    Physical properties of 316 grade stainless steel

    Property Value
    Melting point 1400 degree celsius
    Density 8.00g/cm cube
    Elasticity modules 193 GPa
    Thermal conductivity 16.3 W/m.K
    Thermal expansion 15.9 multiply 10 power -6/K

    What are the different grades of stainless steel 316?

    Stainless steel 316 grade is available in three different grades – Grade 316L, Grade 316H and Grade 316Ti. Let’s understand the special features of each grade.

    Stainless steel 316L

    • ‘L’ is stands for low-carbon and this is the low carbon version compared to standard 316 stainless steel
    • Enhanced welding properties and has lesser risk of corrosion after welding and carbide precipitation
    • Used in heavy gorge welded components and the construction of tanks and pipes in processing industries

    Stainless steel 316H

    • Higher carbon content
    • Suitable for use in applications that require elevated or higher temperature
    • Provides greater thermal stability due to the high quantity of carbon
    • Usually used in boilers, heat exchangers, and other applications where mechanical strength is important especially at higher temperatures

    Stainless steel 316Ti

    • Contains highest carbon content among all 316 SS grades
    • Suitable for high-temperature applications
    • Provides better resistance to corrosion that is inter-granular

    Also read: Carbon steel vs Stainless steel – How is it different?

    Which is stronger 316 or 316L?

    A common question asked is – Which is stronger 316 or 316L? Or, is 316L better than 316? Or even, is 316 better than 316L for high temperatures?

    By now we understand that grade 316 and 316L have different chemical and mechanical properties that make it suitable for use in specific environments.

    316 Stainless Steel 316L Stainless Steel
    Contains chromium, nickel, molybdenum and small amount of carbon (0.08%) Basic composition is similar to standard SS 316 but contains lesser carbon content (up to 0.03%)
    Stronger and more hardness due to its higher carbon content (carbon strengthening) than 316L especially in high temperatures Less strong than SS 316
    Higher risk of forming carbide precipitation Lesser scope of carbide precipitation during welding due to low carbon content making it suitable for environments where corrosion resistance (after welding) is required

    316 stainless steel is marginally stronger than 316L stainless steel due to its higher carbon content in steel. However, it is less resistant to corrosion and weldable when compared to 316L. As such, in terms of overall performance, 316L SS is often preferred in applications where corrosion resistance and high strength is required.

    Application of stainless steel 316

    Compared to stainless steel 304, 316 stainless steel incorporates about 2 to 3% of molybdenum which increases its corrosion resistance against chloride and other chemicals of industries.

    • Chemical and manufacturing: Due to its high resistance to corrosion especially in high-saline environments like coastal regions and marine equipment
    • Medical and pharmaceutical: Due to its non-reactive qualities, especially in the manufacturing of medical surgical instruments
    • Other uses: Pressure vessels, pipes and systems and for chemical applications, commercial kitchen applications, food processing environments, and brewing facilities

    SS 316 price per kg in India

    In this section, we will take a look at SS 316 price in India. This is crucial for any business involved in manufacturing, construction, automobile or any other sector using 316 stainless steel.

    Note: The price of SS 316 per kg will depend on manufacturer, location, type, availability, dimensions (width, thickness, length), demand, transport, taxes, quality, and several other factors. Please check with your local steel supplier before purchasing.

    SS 316 type Price per kg* Price per tonne*
    316 stainless steel (standard) ₹270 – ₹325 per kg ₹270,000 – ₹325,000 per tonne
    316L stainless steel ₹285 – ₹335 per kg ₹285,000 – ₹335,000 per tonne
    316H stainless steel ₹290 – ₹345 per kg ₹290,000 – ₹345,000 per tonne
    SS 316 coils ₹295 – ₹350 per kg ₹295,000 – ₹350,000 per tonne
    SS 316 sheets ₹280 – ₹335 per kg ₹280,000 – ₹335,000 per tonne
    SS 316 pipes ₹295 – ₹345 per kg ₹295,000 – ₹345,000 per tonne
    Other 316 SS products ₹270 – ₹350 per kg ₹270,000 – ₹350,000 per tonne

    *Prices are reflective and subject to change. Please check with your steel supplier for the latest and accurate price.

    Top manufacturers of stainless steel in India

    Here’s a list of top stainless steel manufacturers in India:

    • Tata Steel Limited
    • Steel Authority of India Ltd
    • Jindal Steel and Power Ltd
    • Essar Steel India Ltd
    • Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited
    • Jindal Stainless Ltd
    • Visa steel Ltd
    • JSW Steel Ltd
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    *This was originally published on 20 November 2023 and updated on 15 April 2024 to keep it relevant. For informational purposes only. Readers are requested to check with their steel suppliers/manufacturers for specifics and additional details.

    Charul Nalwaya

    Charul is a content marketing professional and seasoned content writer who loves writing on various topics with 3 years of experience. At Tata nexarc, it has been 2 years since she is helping business to understand jargon better and deeper to make strategical decisions. While not writing, she loves listing pop music.