439 Stainless Steel vs 316 – What’s the Difference

439 Stainless Steel vs 316 Stainless Steel

Stainless steel comes in many different types and grades. Two of the most common types are 439 and 316. Both are used in a wide range of industries and applications. However, they differ in their composition, properties, and uses. This article will explain the key differences between 439 and 316 stainless steel and help you choose the right one for your needs.

What is 439 Stainless Steel?

439 stainless steel is a type of ferritic stainless steel that contains more chromium than other types of ferritic steel. This makes it highly resistant to corrosion and oxidation, making it an excellent choice for harsh environments. It’s commonly used in automotive exhaust systems, kitchen appliances, and even in the manufacturing of solar panels.

What is 316 Stainless Steel?

316 stainless steel contains the alloy molybdenum, which increases its resistance to corrosion and pitting in harsh environments. This type of steel is commonly used in marine and coastal applications where salty air and water can wreak havoc on lesser metals.

Difference Between 439 Stainless Steel and 316

439 stainless steel is a ferritic grade of stainless steel which contains around 18-20% chromium, 1.0% manganese, and small amounts of titanium. In comparison, 316 stainless steel is an austenitic grade containing molybdenum and higher levels of nickel than 439. Both are highly corrosion resistant but differ in their applications; 439 can be used for automotive trim components, while 316 is better suited to industrial process equipment.


The main difference between 439 and 316 stainless steel is their chemistry. 439 is a ferritic steel, which means it has a high concentration of chromium (between 17% and 19%) and low amounts of carbon and nickel. This gives 439 good corrosion resistance, especially in acidic environments. 316, on the other hand, is an austenitic steel, which contains a higher percentage of nickel (between 10% and 14%), molybdenum (between 2% and 3%), and lower amounts of carbon and chromium. This makes 316 highly corrosion-resistant in most environments, including saltwater and acids.


The properties of 439 and 316 stainless steel also differ. 439 is magnetic and has a lower thermal expansion coefficient than 316. This means it is less prone to thermal distortion and can be used in higher-temperature applications, such as exhaust systems. However, 439 has lower strength and flexibility than 316, which is unsuitable for structural applications or high-stress environments. In contrast, 316 is non-magnetic and has high strength, flexibility, and toughness, making it ideal for structural components, food and beverage processing equipment, and marine hardware.


Due to their different properties, 439 and 316 stainless steel are used in different industries and applications. 439 is commonly used in automotive exhaust systems, hot water tanks, and heat exchangers because of its high temperature and corrosion resistance. 316, on the other hand, is used in a wide range of industries, such as food processing, pharmaceuticals, chemical processing, and marine applications, because it is highly corrosion-resistant and easy to clean.


Cost is also a factor when choosing between 439 and 316 stainless steel. 439 is less expensive than 316, making it a cost-effective choice for certain applications. However, if you need superior corrosion resistance and strength of 316, the higher cost may be worth it in the long run.


To sum up, knowing the difference between 439 and 316 stainless steel is crucial in choosing the right material for your project. While 439 is cheaper and more suitable for high-temperature and acidic applications, 316 is highly resistant to corrosion, has superior strength and flexibility, and is widely used in various industries. So, depending on your property requirements, cost, and applications, you can decide between 439 and 316 stainless steel.



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