Stainless Steel: 304 vs 316
Is 316 stainless steel worth the extra expense? This is a very common question in the fastener World. Basically, it comes down to the application.
As with any project, it is always best to get the advice of an engineer, however, here are a few basic things that should help make the decision:
- 304 is the most popular type of Stainless as it provides the best balance between cost and corrosion protection.
- 316 is also very popular, it has higher nickel content and a small amount of molybdenum. This provides excellent resistance to chemicals, solvents, or salt water.
- The melting point of 304 stainless is slightly higher as compared to 316. 316 stainless melts at approximately 2500 degrees F (1371 degrees C). 304 has a melting point roughly 100 degrees F higher.
So to answer the question, 316 is only worth the extra cost if the application is in an extremely corrosive environment , otherwise the 304 will work just fine.
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