The Versatile nature of 316 Stainless Steel Tubes
Stainless steel 316 tubes are one of the most versatile, durable and corrosion resistant types of steel tubes available today. Their unique properties make them suitable for use in a wide range of applications across many different industries. In this blog post we’ll take a closer look at what makes 316 stainless tubes so popular and examine some of their key uses and benefits.
What is 316 Stainless Steel?
316 stainless steel, also known as marine grade stainless steel, is an austenitic chromium-nickel stainless steel alloy. The addition of molybdenum increases general corrosion resistance, improves chloride pitting resistance and strengthens the alloy. 316 stainless contains between two and 3% molybdenum which gives it superior corrosion resistance compared to other forms of stainless steel.
Properties of 316 Stainless Steel
-Excellent corrosion resistance – 316 stainless steel has superior resistance to a wide range of acids, alkalis, chlorides and other corrosive media. It performs well in harsh environments including marine atmospheres and coastal applications. The molybdenum content gives 316 superior resistance to chloride pitting corrosion compared to 304 stainless steel.
-High strength and hardness – 316 stainless steel maintains its mechanical properties even after exposure to cryogenic temperatures. It’s stronger than 304 stainless and can withstand higher stress and pressure applications.
-Good formability – the austenitic structure of 316 stainless steel gives it good ductility and formability. It can be readily welded, machined, drawn and formed.
-Non-magnetic – 316 stainless steel is non-magnetic in the annealed condition making it useful for applications where magnetic permeability is undesirable.
-Heat resistance – 316 has good elevated temperature strength up to around 870°C
-Low temperature performance – retains ductility and toughness down to cryogenic temperatures
Applications of 316 Stainless Steel Tubing
Thanks to its versatile corrosion resistant properties and ability to withstand high temperatures and pressures, 316 stainless steel tubing has become an extremely popular choice across a diverse range of industries and applications including:
-Oil and gas industry – 316 stainless steel pipes and tubes are used extensively in the oil and gas industry for exploration, drilling and production applications. They provide excellent resistance to corrosive environments containing carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and chloride. Common applications include downhole tubing, offshore oil rigs, wellheads and manifolds.
-Chemical and petrochemical industry – 316 stainless tubes are the material of choice for the transportation of chemicals, solvents, acids, alkalis and petrochemical products. They prevent corrosion and contamination of processed media.
-Pharmaceutical industry – 316 stainless meets sanitary requirements for the manufacture of pharmaceutical drugs and medicines. It can withstand regular washdowns, CIP cleaning and sterilization procedures.
-Food and beverage industry – stainless steel 316 tubing ensures food safety compliance. It does not contaminate food and prevents corrosion caused by exposure to organic acids and salts. Common uses include steam lines, transfer pipes, heat exchangers and valves.
-Aerospace industry – 316 stainless steel tubes are used extensively in aerospace applications due to their strength at both cryogenic and elevated temperatures. Uses include fuel systems, hydraulic lines and rocket engine components.
-Architecture and construction – 316 stainless steel is used for structural sections and fabricated assemblies in the construction of chemical plants, pulp and paper mills, power plants, airports and stadiums etc.
-Marine engineering – 316 stainless steel tubes are ideal for all manner of marine applications. They exhibit excellent corrosion resistance in salt water while maintaining good formability and weldability for ease of fabrication.
Key Benefits of 316 Stainless Steel Tubing
-Corrosion resistance – 316 stainless steel tubes provide superior corrosion resistance compared to 304 stainless steel, carbon steel and other alloys. This allows for longer service life and reduced maintenance.
-High temperature strength – 316 stainless steel maintains mechanical properties and corrosion resistance at elevated temperatures making it suitable for high temperature applications.
-Low temperature toughness – 316 stainless steel retains ductility and toughness at cryogenic temperatures allowing its use in liquefied gas storage and transportation.
-Versatile fabrication – 316 stainless steel tubes can be formed, machined, welded and joined. This allows complex and custom tube geometries to be fabricated.
-Compliance with standards – 316 stainless steel tubing meets key industry standards including ASTM A213, ASTM A269 and ASTM A312. It satisfies requirements for hygienic and sanitary applications.
-Lower life cycle costs – the excellent corrosion resistance minimizes repair and replacement costs over the lifetime of 316 stainless steel tubing leading to lower total cost of ownership.
With its superior corrosion resistance, high strength and excellent high and low temperature properties, it’s easy to see why 316 stainless steel tubing has become an extremely popular choice of material for a huge range of applications. Its versatile nature makes it well suited for use across many different industries where longevity, performance and safety are key requirements. When choosing stainless steel tubes and pipes, specify 316 stainless for optimal corrosion resistance and versatility.