304 vs 316 Stainless Steel
When compared to other iron-based metals, Stainless Steel stains less easily but it’s not literally “stainless”. Stainless steel too can get marked up by fingerprints and grease, develop discoloration and eventually rust. However, the difference lies in its strength. Stainless steel can endure much more time and abuse before showing any signs of wear.
Stainless steel contains a healthy dose of chromium alloy that gives it corrosion resistance compared to all other steels that have just the basic carbon and iron composition. This is where the complexity starts developing as there are multiple grades under stainless steel, each with a different alloy composition having different physical characteristics.
As a standard, Stainless Steel must contain at least 10.5 percent chromium and depending on the grade, it can contain higher chromium levels with additional alloying ingredients like molybdenum, nickel, titanium, aluminum, copper, nitrogen, phosphorous and selenium. However, the two most common steel grades are 304 and 316.
The main difference between 304 and 316 steel grades is the addition of molybdenum in 316 steel grades, an alloy which drastically enhances corrosion resistance, especially for more saline and chloride-exposed environments whereas 304 grades doesn’t contain this alloy.
304 steel grades are an economical and practical choice for most environments but it misses out on the chloride resistance of 316 steel grade. The slightly higher pricing of 316 is worth it as it would resist high chloride exposure easily.
Stainless steel as a family of metals is very corrosion resistant but with the addition of molybdenum into 316, this increases the grades ability to withstand harsh environments. Often referred to as marine grade, 316 is suitable for use in environments that are more aggressive than ambient although care should still be taken to clean the metal regularly to prolong its service life.
304 Stainless Steel
Used around the world, 304 Stainless Steel is the most common form of Stainless Steel. With up to 35 percent nickel and between 16 to 24 percent chromium, it offers excellent corrosion resistant characteristics and value for money.
With 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel, 18-8 or 18/8 is the most common form of 304 stainless steel and can withstand corrosion from most oxidizing acids. The durability of 304 stainless steel makes it ideal for kitchen and food applications and is also commonly used in buildings, décor, and site furnishings.
One weakness of 304 Stainless Steel is that it is vulnerable to corrosion from chloride solutions, or from saline environments like the coast.
Common applications of 304 stainless steel include:
• Appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers
• Commercial food processing equipment
• Heat exchangers
316 Stainless Steel
316 Stainless Steel is the second most commonly used variant of Stainless Steel family. Most of its physical and mechanical properties are same as that of 304, and contains almost the same materials in its build. The key difference is that of an additional 2-3% of molybdenum in 316 giving an increased layer of corrosion resistance, particularly against chlorides and other industrial solvents.
316 stainless-steel is usually thought of one amongst the foremost selections when choosing stainless-steel for marine applications. Alternative common applications of 316 stainless-steel include:
•Chemical process and storage instrumentation.
•Marine environments, particularly those with chlorides gift
Both 304 and 316 stainless steels (as well as alternative 300-series grades) use nickel to keep austenitic composition at lower temperatures. These steels guarantee a versatile balance of strength, workability, and corrosion resistance, creating them ideal for outdoor architectural features, surgical instrumentation, and food processing equipments.
A large volume of stainless-steel made nowadays (especially 316 stainless steel) can be found in merchandise associated with the food and beverage industries. Stainless-steel is often found in industrial kitchens and food processing plants because it serves a range of needs:
•It can be easily formed and made-up into shapes required to provide a range of equipment and machinery, like cooking tables, ventilation hoods, tanks, and hoppers.
•It is obtainable in an exceedingly big selection of ornamental and polished finishes.
•It can resist shock and abrasive conditions found in kitchens or food processing plants.
•It can be cleaned simply, and can withstand recurring washing laundry with the various chemicals and detergents used to fulfill public health demands.
•It doesn’t react to the alkalis and acids found in milk, overdone foods, vegetables, and food additives.
The ultimate edges of stainless-steel embody an extended service life that may retain a beautiful, clean finish. Properly cared for and cleaned stainless steels present a low maintenance cost.