Stainless steel is a broad category of steel alloys that have some proportion of chromium that protects the metal from corrosion and related damage. The amount of chromium in the alloy — as well as the amounts of other metallic elements — differs depending on which variation of stainless steel you’re working with.
316 stainless steel is a popular alloy that possesses molybdenum. Unlike 304 steel, the most common form of stainless steel, it possesses enhanced resistance to corrosion from chloride and other acids. This makes it ideal for outdoor applications in marine environments or applications that risk potential exposure to chloride.
316 steel comes in different varieties, including 316L. 316L stainless steel possesses less carbon and molybdenum than typical 316 steel, which gives the two alloys different characteristics. This article will explore the fundamental differences between the alloys so you can choose the best fit for your application.
Definition of Stainless Steel
Like steel, stainless steel is primarily composed of iron and carbon. However, stainless steel is also composed of at least 10.5% chromium, a metallic element that gives the metal its finish and superior corrosion resistance. Stainless steel is ideal for long-term applications that will face the elements, moisture, and potentially corrosive chemicals. It’s also ideal for sensitive industries such as food preparation and pharmaceuticals, as the risk of contamination is much lower.
Different grades of stainless steel also contain traces of different elements. Grade 304 stainless steel contains up to 35% nickel and is used for applications such as appliances, cookware, tubing, and hardware. Grade 316 contains molybdenum, making it ideal for marine equipment, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment, and commercial kitchen equipment.
Qualities of 316 vs. 316L Stainless Steel
316 and 316L stainless steel alloys are both marine-grade steels, but they do possess some key differences. 316L has a lower proportion of carbon in its composition. To qualify as 316L stainless steel, the amount of carbon cannot exceed 0.03%. This decreases the risk of carbon precipitation, making it a better option for welding to ensure maximum corrosion resistance.
316 stainless steel has a mid-range level of carbon and contains between 2% and 3% molybdenum, which increases resistance to corrosion, acidic elements, and high temperatures. Both materials have excellent malleability, meaning they perform well in bending, stretching, deep drawing, and spinning.
How to Choose Between 316 or 316L Stainless Steel
When determining whether to use 316 or 316L stainless steel for your application, it is important to consider the following factors:
316L is the superior choice for high corrosion and high temperature applications. Since 316L contains less carbon than 316, it has better intergranular corrosion resistance, meaning its welds won’t decay, unlike with 316 stainless steel.
Although 316L contains less carbon, 316 and 316L stainless steels cost approximately the same.
316 stainless steel has very low responsiveness to magnetic fields. Unlike basic stainless steels, which are ferromagnetic, most stainless steel varieties (including 316) are austenitic — or effectively nonmagnetic.
However, some 316 stainless steel goods can undergo processes, like cold forming and welding, where the austenitic crystal structure is transformed into ferromagnetic martensite. 316L steel is more susceptible to gaining some degree of magnetism.
Both types of stainless steel are useful in a wide variety of industries. However, 316 is primarily used in construction and infrastructure because it is strong, resistant to pitting, and corrosion resistant in most circumstances. 316L is popular for pharmaceutical and photography equipment because it can withstand welding and corrosive chemicals.
Bergsen Metals is Here to Help
The key difference between 316 and 316L stainless steel is the carbon content. While 316 has a maximum carbon content of 0.08%, 316L has a maximum carbon content of only 0.03%.
At Bergsen Metals, we provide an inventory of stainless steel products, including 304/304L stainless steel, 316/316L stainless steel, and more. Browse our catalog or contact us today to learn more about our metal selection. You can also request a quote to start your order.
Stainless steel is an iron alloy composed primarily of iron and chromium. The chromium in the material reacts with oxygen on the surface to create an oxidized “passive layer”, which prevents corrosion and rust. While all stainless steels have at least 10.5% chromium content, alloys with higher percentages demonstrate greater corrosion resistance.
Stainless steel is often alloyed with other elements, such as nickel, carbon, silicon, manganese, and molybdenum, to enhance certain material characteristics. Manufacturers leverage this ability to increase the material’s formability, heat resistance, and durability, depending on the needs of the final product.
Industrial Applications of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel finds application in a wide range of industries, including:
As stainless steel is highly durable and impervious to rust, it is frequently used for a variety of architectural components, including cladding, handrails, fittings for doors and windows, street furniture, rebar, lighting fixtures, and masonry supports. It is also valued in architectural design for its aesthetic appearance.
Stainless steel is prized in the chemical industry for its tensile strength and chemical resistance. It is often used for process pipes and pressurized containers.
Stainless steel is found in a number of construction parts and products due to its high durability and corrosion resistance. Construction materials made with stainless steel include mechanical springs, fasteners, and wires.
Stainless steel’s corrosion resistance makes it especially useful for household items that are frequently exposed to water. The material is used for the manufacture of a variety of common household goods, including cutlery, kitchen countertops, sinks and faucets, pots and pans, washing machines, ovens, and refrigerators.
Food and Beverage
The material’s corrosion resistance and easily sterilized surface make it particularly useful for the food and beverage industry, which requires high standards of cleanliness. In this industry, stainless steel is used in food preparation and catering equipment, piping and containers used for brewing and distilling, and a wide range of food processing equipment.
In the medical industry, stainless steel is highly valued for its chemical and corrosion resistance—which facilitates sterilization—making it popular for use in surgical instruments, medical devices, and implants.
Oil and Gas
Stainless steel’s chemical resistance and durability make it particularly useful in the oil and gas industry, where it is used for tanks, platforms, cable trays, and subsea piping.
Stainless steel is rarely used in large quantities for everyday automobiles due to its heavier material weight. However, it can be found in smaller automotive components, such as in exhaust systems and on car trim. Its uses in the transportation industry are typically reserved for heavy-duty equipment, such as tanker trucks, ship containers, chemical tankers, and garbage trucks, used for the transport of bulky or corrosive materials.
Water and Sewage Treatment
Water and sewage treatment facilities find stainless steel especially helpful for water and sewage pipes and tubing and water tanks, due to its rust and chemical resistance.
High-Quality Stainless Steel From Bergsen Metals
Stainless steel is available in a variety of grades, which are generally categorized into five main types:
Austenitic. The most common type of steel, austenitic stainless steels contain nickel, manganese, nitrogen, and sometimes molybdenum in addition to iron and chromium. These alloys cannot be hardened through heat treatments but can be work hardened.
Martensitic.These stainless steels have carbon contents as high as 1%, which allows them to be hardened and tempered, similar to carbon and low-alloy steels.
Ferritic.Ferritic steels feature high chromium contents and low carbon contents (usually less than 0.10%). They cannot be work hardened and demonstrate less formability than austenitic steels. However, they offer magnetic properties, high corrosion resistance, and resistance to cracking due to corrosion.
Duplex.Duplex steels feature a material structure that is half austenitic and half ferritic. This quality provides them with superior strength and corrosion resistance.
Precipitation hardening (PH).PH steels contain additional elements, such as aluminum, copper, or niobium, and undergo heat treatments, both of which enhance their material strength. As they are less likely to experience thermal distortion, they are suitable for the manufacture of parts with intricate designs or that require tight tolerances.
At Bergsen Metal, we offer a wide range of stainless steel products to suit every customer’s needs. Our stainless steel product offerings include:
300 Series Austenitic Stainless Steel
Our 300 series of stainless steel is austenitic, with chromium levels ranging between 18–30% and nickel levels of 6% to 20%. We offer the following grades:
303 Stainless Steel
Due to its sulfur and phosphorus content, 303 stainless steel is highly machinable. It is typically used in the aerospace industry for fittings, gears, bolts, and nuts.
304 / 304L Stainless Steel
304 is the most commonly used austenitic stainless steel. 304L is a variation that has a lower carbon content. 304 finds use in a variety of industries, including automotive, food and beverage, nuclear, and shipping, while 304L is generally used in welding applications.
316 / 316L Stainless Steel
Compared to 304, 316 is less commonly used. The alloy contains more molybdenum and nickel and is available in a low carbon variation—316L. Its composition allows for higher corrosion resistance, especially to chlorides such as salt and sea water. 316 is suitable for use in nuclear plants and marine environments, while 316L often finds application in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
321 Stainless Steel
Both 321 and 321H contain titanium. However, 321H has a higher carbon content for greater temperature resistance. Both alloys are frequently used in chemical processing and oil and gas refineries.
347 Stainless Steel
347 and 347H contain a higher concentration of niobium and tantalum, making them suitable for welding applications. Both materials can often be found in airplane and automobile components and chemical storage tanks.
400 Series Martensitic Stainless Steel
Our 400 series of stainless steel is martensitic, with chromium level ranging between 11–17%. We distribute the following grades:
410 Stainless Steel
410 is durable and highly resistant to wear but is more susceptible to chemical corrosion and oxidation. The material is often used in automotive parts, medical products, nozzles, pipelines, and valves.
416 Stainless Steel
416 contains sulfur, which allows for greater machinability. This quality makes it suitable for use in a variety of products, including valves, pumps, studs, gears, and washing machine components.
440C Stainless Steel
Due to its high carbon content, 440C is exceptionally hard and wear resistant; however, it is only moderately corrosion resistant. This material is useful for knives, surgical implements, nozzles, bearings, and other items that require that the material retain its shape under pressure.
Duplex Stainless Steel
Duplex stainless steels demonstrate both ferritic and austenitic properties. We offer the following grades of duplex steel:
2205 / 2207 Stainless Steel
2205 and 2207 are widely used grades of duplex stainless steel. Due to their high strength and corrosion resistance, they are often used in components for the marine, chemical, oil, and gas industries.
Precipitation Hardening Stainless Steel
Precipitation hardened stainless steels are prized for their excellent strength-to-weight ratio. Additionally, they are able to be heat hardened like martensitic stainless steel and offer corrosion resistance similar to austenitic stainless steel.
13-8 Stainless Steel
13-8 is a low carbon stainless steel with high tensile strength and corrosion resistance. It is frequently found in airplane components and nuclear equipment.
15-5 Stainless Steel
15-5 has exceptional corrosion resistance and durability. It is often used in the aerospace, chemical, food processing, and general metalworking industries.
17-4 / 17-4PH Stainless Steel
17-4PH stainless steel contains higher quantities of chromium and copper. It is exceptionally strong and corrosion resistant. Its uses include offshore oil and gas and nuclear waste processing applications. It can also be found in airplane and automotive components.
17-4 stainless steel is similar to 17-4PH, but only undergoes a single heat treatment process during its manufacture. As such, it is softer but is generally used in the same applications.
Stainless Steel for Your Business Needs
Stainless steel exhibits several advantageous qualities, including excellent:
Fire and heat resistance
These characteristics, in combination with generally low cost, superior aesthetic appearance, and greater sustainability, have led to stainless steel becoming one of the most commonly used construction materials across a diverse set of industries.
At Bergsen, we are committed to producing the best quality stainless steel for all industries. If you need stainless steel for your next project, contact us or request a quote today.
To ensure quality, consistency, and best-of-breed practices in businesses around the world, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides certifications across industries that ensure standards of quality. It’s important to note that the ISO is not a governmental agency nor an industry specific agency, but an independent agency that operates internationally and provides over 163 national standards bodies.
ISO certifications act as proof that businesses are capable of delivering consistent quality and superior services to customers. For customers, this certification can be an important influencing factor in their choice of business, as each certification ensures a specific set of qualities.
Why is an ISO Certification Important for Customers?
Choosing the right partner or vendor can be tough. Not only do products vary business-to-business, but practices and critical operations can be wildly different depending on which company you choose. For customers, this process is simplified by ISO certification. Not only do you know that you’re choosing a business that has the practices in place to capture certification, but each business that is ISO-certified has standardized quality-control that’s clearly visible.
This operational visibility provides clear proof that businesses have the tools necessary to ensure consistency, quality, and safety. Depending on the certification, these operations can also include customer-centric best practices and product superiority. Customers can also be sure that any business that’s certified has made a commitment to continuous improvement and has established themselves as trade-capable for the many industries that require certification.
Why Should Procurement Managers Work With an ISO-Certified Supplier Like Bergsen?
Here at Bergsen, we are ISO-9001:2015 certified. ISO-9001 certification is a Quality Management System (QMS) designed to ensure that businesses have the procedures, practices, and policies in place to deliver exceptional and continuous customer service and value.
Capturing this certification was mission-critical for us and our vision for the future. We have quality control and optimized customer services baked into our business model, and we guarantee both high-quality products and best-in-class customer service to all of our customers. We know that finding a metals company can be a painstaking process for our customers, and we want to make it clear that we have the tools and products that can help them achieve their goals and meet their needs.
Why ISO Matters
Choosing a business shouldn’t be hinged on guesses and first-glances. Our company has the certifications (ISO:9001, AMS, ASTM, ASME) that prove our excellence across business channels. These certifications demonstrate our aptitude and service capabilities while giving our customers visibility into our procedures.
Don’t settle for second-best. We have the certifications, experience, and product quality to help you complete your next project. If you’re looking for a partner that’s committed to best-of-breed customers service and overall excellence, please contact us.
At Bergsen, we understand the importance of efficiency. We not only sell a variety of carbon steels, stainless steels, and aircraft alloys, but we also offer additional services to make the production process simpler for our customers. For many orders, we can provide one-stop services that help our customers to save significant time and money while ensuring that their materials are handled only by a vendor they can trust.
Services such as custom cuts and fabrications of materials can help clients to reduce lead times and cut out additional spending on secondary vendors and service providers. We’re here to ensure that our clients can receive a full-service solution that meets every one of their business needs.
Services We Offer
Finding a partner that delivers end-to-end service can drastically reduce production times, while bundling services can help you trim your budget through reduced transportation costs. We offer the following secondary services to help our clients reduce touches and expedite orders:
Saw cutting (same-day upon request)
Packing for UPS/FedEx
Common carrier scheduling
Double disc grinding
Eddy current testing
Other services available by request
Why Do We Offer Additional Services?
To keep pace in the industry and ensure that we live up to our client-centric standards, we feel compelled to offer a truly inclusive service. We want to put as little pressure as possible on our customers as these changes take effect, whether that means providing difficult-to-find materials or sizes, or providing additional services that help to streamline the metal sourcing process. Each of our value-added services is backed by our incredible in-house, ISO-certified quality control standards.
Understanding client needs and developing deep, meaningful partnerships with each of our customers is mission-critical for our business. Each of our services is provided to help you meet the stringent needs of your operation and foster trust in us as your metal supplier.
These secondary services are crucial towards our ongoing value proposition of delivering the single-best customer experience coupled with an incredible range of first-class products.
For an in-depth look at all of the incredible services that we offer, as well as all of our materials and size ranges, download our brochure. Please contact us for more information on our products or with any questions about our secondary support services.
For the oil and gas industries, metal materials make up more than 60% of expenses and can be found in nearly every step of the value chain. Choosing the right material for each application is of the utmost importance, as this will save your business significant money and time. Proper material selection is crucial to ensuring an ideal service life and maintenance requirements for your equipment.
Materials Ideal for the Oil and Gas Industry
Carbon steel and stainless steel are the two most common metal materials used in the oil and gas industry, and for good reason. They are strong, can handle high heat, and are resistant to corrosion.
Iron steel contains less than 2% carbon content. A small portion of iron steel will also be made up of sulfur, silicon, phosphorus, and manganese. Carbon steel is the most commonly produced steel material and well known for its high strength properties. It is also very unlikely to need replacement from regular wear and tear. While all carbon steel is susceptible to corrosion, coatings and chemicals can be added to mitigate this risk.
Stainless steel is a type of iron steel possessing no less than 10.5% chromium, which makes up what is known as a passive layer. This layer protects the steel from the harmful effects of corrosion. Often, metals such as molybdenum and nickel are included to add increased corrosion resistance.
Duplex stainless steel provides a price-stable option for many applications as it is made up of very little chrome and nickel, which fluctuate greatly in price. Instead, duplex stainless steel is available in ferritic and austenitic varieties. It is also highly resistant to corrosion and stress cracking, and features good strength properties.
Material Qualities Needed for Oil & Gas
Oil and gas applications usually require equipment that will withstand high temperatures and pressures during normal operation. This equipment must be fabricated from materials that are versatile enough to adapt to the fluctuating demands of oil and gas environments. Most importantly, all equipment must be resistant to corrosion to ensure long service life with minimal maintenance.
Applications and Equipment
At Bergsen, we fabricate a wide range of carbon steel and stainless steel parts and components used in the oil and gas industry in many applications and for many different types of equipment. These include:
Oil country tubular goods (OCTG)
Storage tanks and pressure vessels
By their nature, oil and gas operations put enormous stress on equipment, which can eventually lead to wear. Appropriate material selection can mitigate many of the risks and long-term effects posed by these environments. Please contact us today to request a quote or more information on our products and services for the oil and gas sector.