Understanding Manufacturing Equipment

Stainless Steel 304 Vs 316: What's The Difference?

by Tomothy Perez

Stainless steel is a metal valued for its anti-corrosive properties. 304 and 316 are the two most common grades of stainless steel. When trying to decide which grade is better for your project, it can be helpful to learn more about the key differences between these two options.

A Closer Look at 304 Stainless Steel

304 is the most widely used grade of stainless steel all around the world. This structurally sound steel is perfect for most construction projects as it is able to continue standing in almost any condition. Any time you come into contact with stainless steel piping or railings, they are going to be made out of 304 stainless steel.

This type of stainless steel is highly resistant to rust. Since it resists corrosion from just about any oxidizing acid, it is the perfect type of metal finish for constructing both kitchen and food appliances. In fact, it is a great metal finish for just about any appliance in the household that utilizes water or cleaners.

A Closer Look at 316 Stainless Steel

For the most part, 316 stainless steel offers all of the same properties 304 stainless steel can offer your project. The key difference between these two grades of steel is the 2 to 3 percent make up of molybdenum in 316 that isn't in 304 stainless steel. Thanks to the molybdenum, 316 is much more resistant to being damaged by chemicals than 304. If you need a stainless steel for a project that is even more resistant to corrosion than 304, 316 is a great choice because it is easy to weld and fabricate.

By comparison, 316 is more durable in extreme conditions than 304. This is why it is a popular choice for industrial and chemical applications. Ocean-based oil rigs, for example, are constructed using 316 stainless steel. Containers used for holding acidic chemicals or toxic chemicals are also commonly made out of 316 steel.

Is Stainless Steel Right For Your Project?

Stainless steel is a popular choice in material for a number of different projects because it is easy to cut, machine, weld, form, and fabricate. Stainless steel is a beneficial choice regardless of what grade you choose because it is going to last for a long time, retain its gorgeous look for a long time, and require little maintenance to maintain. Whatever it is you are constructing out of stainless steel is also going to increase the overall value.

For more information, contact companies like J&E Metal Fabricators Inc.