316 Stainless Steel: Properties and Best Uses

316 stainless steel

When it comes to stainless steel, there are many options on the market.  Each version carrying its own properties and benefits.  Thus, it is always best to consult with an expert when deciding on which steel product is best for your project’s need.  The professionals at Alliant Metals take pride in their extensive knowledge and exceptional customer.  That is why they have created this helpful on 316 stainless steel.

Heat Treatments

316 stainless steel is generally provided in ready to use conditions.  Although heat treatment is an excellent way to remove the effect of cold forming after fabrication.  Also used to dissolve precipitated chromium carbides resulting from thermal exposures.  The best temperature range to achieve optimal heating is between 1900° and 2150°F.  The heating treatment should be followed by air cooling or a water quench. However, keep in mind that 316 stainless steel tubes cannot be hardened by heat treatments.

Corrosion Resistance

This type of stainless steel contains anywhere from 16-18 percent chromium.  This amount makes 316 stainless steel considerably more resistant to solutions of sulfuric acid over other types of chromium-nickel metals.

Machining Properties

Machinability is rated at 36 percent of B1112.

Physical Properties
        • Density: 0.29 lbs/in3 7.99 g/cm3
        • Electrical Resistivity: microhm-in (microhm-cm) 68°F (20°C) – 29.4 (74)
        • Specific Heat:  BTU/lb/°F (kJ/kg•K) 32 – 212°F (0 – 100°C) – 0.12 (0.50)
        • Thermal Conductivity: BTU/hr/ft2/ft/°F (W/m•K)  at 212° (100°C) – 9.4 (16.2) at 932° (500°C) – 12.4 (21.4)
        • Modulus of Elasticity: ksi (MPa) 28 x 103 (193×103) in tension 11.2 x 103 (77×103) in torsion
        • Mean Coefficient of Thermal Expansion: in/in/°F (μm/m•K) 32- 1212°F(0-100°C)– 8.9×106 (16.0) 32- 1600°F(0-315°C)– 9.0×106 (16.2) 32- 1000°F(0-538°C)– 9.7×106 (17.5) 32- 1200°F(0-649°C)–10.3×106 (18.5) 32- 1500°F(0-871°C)–11.1×106 (19.9

Common Applications

Although 316 stainless steel can be beneficial in a variety of applications, it is most commonly used in the manufacturing of furnace pieces, photographic and pharmaceutical machinery, jet engine parts, and for equipment which utilizes chemical processing.  However, because of its high corrosion resistance, 316 stainless steel is also commonly used in boating and ocean projects.


For a full list of products and their specifications, visit Alliant Metals online.  With over 30 years of experience in the industry, our customers have come to expect, and receive, nothing but the highest quality of service.  Call Alliant Metals today to learn more about their cost-efficient high-quality materials (800) 543-1453.

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