316 stainless steel is an austenitic stainless steel grade, which means that it contains a microstructure that imparts a variety of desirable properties to the metal. These properties include good formability, high-temperature stability, corrosion resistance, and weldability.
Type 316 is the second most common grade of stainless steel after 304, and it is commonly used for medical equipment, surgical instruments, and food processing equipment. It is also used in marine applications because of its corrosion resistance.
It has a standard composition of 10-14% nickel and 2-3% molybdenum, which give it corrosion resistance, high-temperature toughness, and high wear resistance. This alloy is also used in chemical processing equipment, paper making machinery, and dye production machinery. 316 is also known as stabilized stainless steel because of its addition of nickel.
The molybdenum in series 316 also increases its resistance to pitting corrosion, which is a problem in chloride solutions. It also increases its heat resistance, toughness, and wear resistance. The nickel content also improves ductility.
Although 316 stainless steel is more expensive than 304, it is an excellent choice for certain applications. Besides marine uses, it is also used for chemical processing equipment, medical equipment, and electrical enclosures. It is particularly useful in chloride-ion environments. It is also suitable for applications that involve high chemical attack risk, such as acidic food preparation surfaces.
It is also resistant to alkalis in food. It is also resistant to repeated cleaning with detergents. It is often used in kitchens and restaurant kitchens because of its attractive finish.