Stainless Steel FAQ

Stainless Steel Q&A

Stainless Steel Q&A

Why use Stainless Steel?

Rust. Rust or corrosion is the degradation of metal when exposed to chemicals or the elements. Even water is enough to corrode raw steel. Most steel is coated or painted to prevent some corrosion. However coatings are subject to wear, quickly leaving the steel unprotected. The chemical make up of Stainless steel resists corrosion making it ideal in harsh environments.

What is Stainless Steel?

All steel is a metal alloy primarily made of Iron and Carbon. Adding other metals to the steel can enhance certain properties. In the case of stainless steel chromium is added in excess of 10%. There are many alloys considered stainless, the major types being 304, 304L, 316, and 316L.

What is the difference between 304 and 316 Stainless Steel?

316 Stainless has significantly greater resistance to corrosion due to the addition of Molybdenum (at least 3%) to the alloy. While 316 Stainless is a bit more expensive than 304 the differential cost is far outweighed by the additional corrosion resistance provided.

When is 316 specified over 304?

  • In products likely to have long exposure to the elements.
  • For items used in or around the ocean or other salt water.
  • When products are in frequent contact with harsh chemicals.

What is the deal with “L”?

"L" refers to an alloy with reduced carbon. 304L and 316L have less carbon than normal 304 or 316 making them better for welding. The tensile and yield strength are slightly reduced in "L" Stainless however the superior weldability often makes it the best choice.

Request a Quote

Call us today!