Introduction to 316 Stainless Steel Tubing

August 31, 2011 in Blog, Pipe, Pipes Valves and Fittings by

St. Louis Pipe and Supply carries the exact grade of tubing you need for your project. Some of the common grades we regularly supply can be found here.  One of the grades we supply most is 316 stainless steal tube. But, there is sometimes confusion between the different grades of 316 stainless steal tube.

Why use 316 in the first place?

316 stainless steel tubing offers practically the same physical, mechanical and fabrication characteristics as grade 304 stainless steel tubing. However, grade 316 offers greater corrosion resistance than grade 304. If your application is in a chloride environment, for example, you’ll want to install grade 316 stainless steal tube instead of grade 304 to protect against pitting corrosion.

Beyond corrosion resistance, there are other properties that differentiate stainless steel grades 304 and 316. For example, a 316 stainless steal tube is almost always virtually totally non-responsive to a magnet, whereas 304 stainless steal tube can become attracted to a magnet after being cold worked.

The benefits of grade 316 as compared to grade 304 can come at a nominal increase in cost. However, we offer prices that compete with other stainless steel tube suppliers and we will work with you to keep you within budget. Please contact us today for a quote to see how competitive our pricing is.

Then what is 316L and 316H?

Grade 316 stainless steel tubing with low carbon content is known as 316L. The carbon content of 316L is typically 0.03% and compared to 0.08% for grade 316. This low carbon content is useful in avoidance of possible sensitization corrosion in welded components.

Grade 316 stainless steel tubing with a carbon content of 0.04% to 0.10% is known as 316H. This higher carbon content increases the strength, particularly at temperatures above about 500°C. However, 316H carbon steel tubing should not be used in applications where sensitization corrosion might be expected.

Properties of Various Grades of Stainless Steel

Grade UNS Tensile Strength (MPa) min Yield Strength (MPa) min Elongation (%) min Brinell Hardness (HB) max Rockwell Hardness (HRB)max
304 S30400 515 205 40 201 92
304L S30403 485 170 40 201 92
304H S30409 515 205 40 201 92
316 S31600 515 205 40 217 95
316L S31603 485 170 40 217 95
316H S31609 515 205 40 217 95

Whether you’re in the market for 304 stainless steel tubing or 316 stainless steel tubing, or you’re not quite sure which is best for your application, please feel free to contact us for a quote or to answer any questions you may have.

Leave a Comment

Tags  , , , , , ,