Five Minute Tutorial: Stainless Steel 316 Sheet Metal

May 15, 2013 in Blog by

Stainless steel 316 sheet metalIn this post, you’ll learn the basics of one of our most popular building materials–stainless steel 316 sheet metal.

But before we dive into 316 sheet metal, let’s get started with a quick overview on sheet metal in general.

Sheet Metal–The Basics

Sheet metal is a thin, flat piece of metal that usually varies in thickness from 30 to 8 gauge. It can be made with a variety of materials, including brass, copper, tin, aluminum, nickel and steel, though commercial builders and contractors most commonly use stainless steel, including stainless steel 316 sheet metal.

316 Sheet Metal: The Formula

316 stainless steel contains 16% chromium, 10% nickel and 2% molybdenum.

Corrosion Resistance and Strength

It’s the last element in the above formula–molybdenum–that gives 316 sheet metal much of its corrosion resistance and strength. This makes it more rugged than 304 sheet metal (which doesn’t contain molybdenum) and allows it to perform well in a variety of conditions–including extreme marine and chemical environments.

In intermittent service, it is resistant to oxidation up to 870 degrees celsius. In continuous service, this number rises to 925 degrees. However, you shouldn’t use a material made of 316 sheet metal continuously if you want it to be resistant to aqueous corrosion in the future.

Certain grades of 316 can offer other resistant properties as well. Grade 316L can resist carbide precipitation, and grade 316H offers great strength in high temperature environments.

Great For Welding

Perhaps the greatest benefit of stainless steel sheet metal 316 is its ability to be welded into a wide array of shapes.

However, because it’s strong and hardens quickly, welding 316 often requires heavy-duty machinery.


Engineers and builders use 316 in a variety of different applications, including:

  • Threaded fastener
  • Marine architectural panelling, railings & trim
  • Chemical containers
  • Food preparation equipment used in chloride environments
  • Photographic film processing equipment
  • Boat fittings
  • Laboratory benches & equipment
  • Woven or welded screens for quarrying, mining & water filtration
  • Springs
  • Pharmaceutical processing equipment
  • Water softener tanks
  • Phosphate industry parts
  • Pulp and paper processing equipment
  • Smokestacks
  • Heat Exchangers


Stainless steel sheet prices  always vary depending on the requirements of your project, including quantity, size, grade-type and dimensions. But typically, 316 sheet metal ranges from $200-800.

Should You Choose It?

To determine if 316 stainless steel sheet metal will work for you, you need to consider the scope of your project, how much it will cost and what the sheet metal will be used for. If your project requires a sheet metal that can hold up well in a marine environment, 316 might be right for you.

Do you have a question about sheet metal or sheet steel prices? Contact us for a quote.

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