316l is an austenitic stainless steel with higher levels of nickel, molybdenum and chromium than the 304 grade. This provides improved resistance to corrosion from salt water, oxidizing acids, and reducing agents. It also has a lower carbon content, which reduces the risk of inter-granular corrosion caused by welding.
In addition to its superior corrosion resistance, 316l has good work hardening characteristics, and high strength at low temperatures. It also has excellent ductility and is non-magnetic in the annealed condition, although it can become slightly magnetic as a result of severe cold working.
It is able to resist stress corrosion cracking in chloride solutions, however this grade is subject to pitting and crevice corrosion in warm chloride environments and has inferior resistance to cold chloride attack. It is also susceptible to carbide precipitation in warm sea water.
This alloy has a very high tensile strength and is readily formed and drawn. It is weldable by all standard fusion and resistance methods with and without filler metals. Heavy welded sections need to be post-weld annealed to restore optimum corrosion resistance. This grade can be fabricated by cold drawing and forming, and is readily machined and formed into intricate shapes and forms. 316l can be made into a variety of finishes such as annealed, bright annealed, sputter deposited, and electropolished. These finishes are ideal for applications that require the highest level of cleanliness and purity, such as in pharmaceutical settings or semiconductor manufacturing.