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The Pros and Cons of 304 vs 316 Stainless Steel

304 vs 316 Stainless Steel

The most widely used types of stainless steel are graded as 304 and 316. The grading system used to classify these two steel grades comes from a numbering system started by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), one of the oldest trade unions that dates back to 1855. These classifications indicate their compositions, with most stainless steels rated in the 200s and 300s considered austenitic. The austenitization process involves heating the iron, iron alloy, or steel to a point where it changes its crystalline structure from ferrite to austenite. Though difficult to distinguish between the two with the naked eye, the distinctive properties between 304 vs 316 stainless steel make each better for certain applications.

About 304 Stainless Steel

The most commonly used of the austenitic stainless steel, the 304 grade is made up of 8-10.5 percent of nickel and 18-20 percent of chromium. Alloys also include other elements – including carbon, manganese and silicon – with the rest of the composition being primarily iron. With the high nickel and chromium content, the 304 grade of stainless steel offers excellent protection against corrosion.

Common applications for 304 stainless steel include:

  • Automotive moldings and trim
  • Commercial equipment used for processing food
  • Electrical enclosures
  • Fasteners and finishing hardware like nuts, bolts, screws, plates and handles
  • Harsh environments where carbon steel readily corrodes
  • Heat exchangers
  • Interior architecture and decorative hardware, such as panels and sculptures
  • Piping
  • Pots, pans and other kitchen utensils and implements
  • Residential kitchen appliances
  • Residential sinks and their components
  • Storage tanks
  • Tubing for equipment
  • Wheel covers

One notable difference between 304 and 316 stainless steel is their levels of nickel and chromium. The former grade usually has a higher chromium content while the latter generally contains more nickel.

About 316 Stainless Steel

The 316 grade is also mostly comprised of iron, and similarly contains high amounts of nickel and chromium – at 10-14 percent and 16-18 percent respectively – as well as smaller amounts of carbon, manganese, molybdenum and silicon. For this reason, the 316 grade of stainless steel tends to be the preferred choice for use in marine environments.

Common applications for 316 stainless steel include:

  • Cisterns and piping used in chemical applications
  • Commercial kitchens and appliances
  • Containers used to hold pressurized gasses or liquids
  • Equipment for chemical storage and processing
  • Equipment used for industrial and chemical transportation
  • Marine components
  • Marine settings
  • Medical devices and equipment not requiring surgical steel
  • Outdoor electrical enclosures
  • Outdoor furnishing
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing
  • Refinery infrastructure
  • Seafood production and other food processing in saline environments
  • Stainless steel floats

The main difference between 304 vs. 316 stainless steel involves the 316 grade’s much higher levels of molybdenum, which are typically 2-3 percent by weight and provide better corrosion resistance.

Molybdenum & Stainless Steel

The name for the chemical element molybdenum evolved from the ancient Greek word for lead, as it was often confused with lead ores. It is not found alone as metal but occurs as an oxide in various minerals. Silvery-gray in appearance, it has one of the highest melting points of any element. Because of this property, it provides incredible strength and stability to steel alloys, which is why its most common use involves steel production. All of the 300-series grades of stainless steel contain some molybdenum, with certain grades that are highly resistant to corrosion containing up to 7 percent molybdenum. However, these higher grades are only necessary for use in extreme environments where metals are exposed to extremely high chloride levels.

Comparison Between 304 vs 316 Stainless Steel

When looking at these two steel grades, both look similar in appearance and have comparable chemical compositions. Both resist rusting and corrosion well, while also offering added durability. When comparing 304 vs. 316 stainless steel, the latter’s higher cost can be attributed to its better corrosion resistance. Because of this price differential and the limited environments in which 316 steel is advantageous, the 304 grade is the most widely used austenitic stainless steel.

Because of its better corrosion resistance, the stainless 316 grade costs more. For applications that expose an alloy to chlorinated solutions and chlorides, including seawater, using this higher grade is especially recommended. It can add years to the life of components or equipment exposed to harsh and corrosive conditions, particularly if it involves exposure to salts. Yet for most applications, the 304 grade will work perfectly well. In summation, when looking at 304 vs. 316 stainless steel, for applications that require superior resistance to corrosion or water, use 316 stainless. For other applications, 304 stainless will work just fine.

To sum it up, 316 steel is worth the expense if you need superior corrosion resistance and your application contains water. If not, 304 steel will serve your needs just fine.

Stainless Steel Grades: Explained

Stainless Steel Grades Explained

Stainless steels are mainly used when corrosion or oxidation is an issue, as the function that they perform can’t be duplicated by other materials for their cost. Over 100 years ago, it was discovered that a minimum of 12% chromium would impart corrosion and oxidation resistance to steel; hence the name “stainless steel”. Several different types of grades of stainless steel have been developed. Below are the different stainless steel grades explained. (more…)

The 3 Most Popular Modern Kitchen Cabinet Hardware Pieces

Modern Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Your kitchen is the central hub of your home. Most people consider the kitchen to be the most important room of the house. You most likely start your day in the kitchen with a cup of coffee or a quick bite to eat with your family. Everyone gravitates toward the kitchen to socialize, and it’s where you prepare meals and eat together. Kitchens are a main bonding area of the home. A highly functioning and aesthetically pleasing kitchen is an investment in your family’s health and happiness. All the little details matter, especially choosing your modern kitchen cabinet hardware. Below we discuss the three main types of kitchen cabinet hardware that can help improve the functionality of your kitchen, while providing a modern facelift. (more…)

How to Choose the Perfect Cabinet Hardware Size

Cabinet Hardware Size

Remodeling and customizing your kitchen can be a big project. After planning and designing on the large scale it might be tempting to coast through choosing the cabinet hardware, but high-traffic rooms such as kitchens deserve detailed attention. Choosing the right hardware size requires a balance of style and function. Sacrifice one for the other, and you probably won’t be happy. You’ll be frustrated every time you try to pull open a drawer, or you’ll be disappointed every time you walk into the room.

Don’t fret; finding the perfect cabinet hardware to integrate into your kitchen style can be easy with a little direction. Follow the 5 steps below to learn how to choose cabinet hardware size and you’ll be well on your way to the perfect cabinet accessories! (more…)

The Vertical Float Switch: How it Works

Vertical Float Switch Banner

A vertical float switch is a mechanical device used to detect the level of liquid within a tank, and trigger an event, such as a refill or discharge, when the liquid reaches one or more predetermined levels. A vertical float switch comprises a magnet contained within a thru tube float, as well as a magnetic reed switch contained within a fixed housing. The movement of the float, due to the changing liquid level, will cause the reed switch to close or open at a particular level. This tried and trusted technology is based on a relatively simple design that offers long term reliability without the need for the user to operate the switch. Below we discuss five common ways the vertical float switch is used.

 

  • Harvesting Rainwater – Harvesting rainwater is becoming increasingly more important, especially in areas of drought.  Climate change is affecting water supplies everywhere with long dry spells. Numerous states are in a major water deficit, and the need to collect, store, and treat rainwater is necessary. The storage tanks used to collect the rainwater require vertical float switches to indicate the level in the tank and control pumps and valves. Not having these controls can lead to costly water loss, and property or equipment damage.

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What is a Sump Pump Float Switch and Why Does it Fail?

Sump Pump Float Switch Banner

If you are a homeowner, chances are you’ve heard of a sump pump, and most likely own one. A sump pump is a small pump installed in the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace. Its job is to help keep the area under the home or building dry and to prevent it from flood­ing. Usually, sump pumps are installed in sump pits. Water flows into the sump pit through drains or by natural water migration through the soil. The sump pump’s job is to pump the water out of the pit and away from the building so the basement or crawlspace stays dry. When sump pumps fail, this can lead to basement floods. The sump pump relies on a float switch in order for the pump to work properly. (more…)

A Deeper Look at Liquid Level Applications

Liquid Leveling DevicesIn the past few weeks, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about some of the most common industries we serve. While we take great pride in the unique applications of these industries, it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the ways in which our advanced liquid leveling devices can be used. Today we’re going to explore some of the many liquid level applications where our products play an invaluable role.

Chemical
Liquid level control plays an important part in chemical storage and processing applications. Whether our level controls are ensuring chemical levels are maintained in storage tanks, or helping to monitor chemical tank inventory or point level in chemical mixing and batching, they are a very important part of this industry! At Arthur Harris, we design all of our products for the chemical industry using high quality stainless steel, ensuring resistance to corrosive chemicals and unmatched performance in the demanding conditions this industry presents. (more…)

The Role of the Float Valve in Petrochemical Drilling

petrochemical-industryHere at Arthur Harris, we truly enjoy the opportunity to share how our custom products benefit some of the largest industries. Today we’re discussing the petrochemical industry, where our stainless steel float valves are used to prevent unwanted flow of fluids up the drill string in natural gas and oil drilling operations. At Arthur Harris, we take great pride in powering the industries that fuel our country, and we’re excited to share how our innovative products can make a big impact in these operations. (more…)

Liquid Level Control in the Wastewater Industry

Stainless Steel Float BallsIt’s August, one of the hottest months in North America, and here at Arthur Harris, we’re celebrating the sunshine, spending time outdoors, and our ability to serve some of the most lucrative and important industries in the country, wastewater treatment. On the hottest days of the year, we think about how our liquid level control products help those in the wastewater treatment industry manage the day-to-day operations and also stay safe by preventing an incident which could really stink! (more…)

Learn How Our Stainless Steel Floats Benefit the Oil Industry

oil

At Arthur Harris, we take great pride in our ability to serve numerous industries. With the ability to serve an extensive range of purposes, or products offer unmatched versatility paired with the high quality craftsmanship that our clients trust. To celebrate our diverse clientele and highlight some of the unique applications of our high quality products, we will be writing industry-specific blogs. Today will be talking about one of the largest industries we serve, the oil industry! The oil industry is especially important because it requires our products for accuracy, safety, and everyday operations. (more…)