Stainless steel 316L
Stainless steel 316L is the low carbon version of AISI 316 steel; the “L” designation means that the carbon content is less than 0.035% (AISI 316 allows up to 0.080% of carbon content). This feature prevents the precipitation of chromium carbide which provides a better overall resistance to corrosion.
AINSI 316 (18/8/3 steel) or X5CrNiMo17-12-2 - EN1,4401 steel, is an austenitic alloy stainless steel contains 16 to 18% chromium, 11 to 14% nickel and 2% molybdenum.The molybdenum content increases corrosion resistance and improves resistance to pitting in chloride ion solutions. This latter feature makes it suitable for the maritime environments and naval applications.
Thanks to the presence of molybdenum, 316L steel exhibit better corrosion resistance in all natural environments: waters and rural, urban and industrial atmospheres also in presence of a moderated concentration of chlorides and acids. 316/316L steel finds usage in the food and agri-food sector, in many acid environments (sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, organic acid) and in chlorinated environments, in specific temperature and concentration conditions. The resistance to intergranular corrosion is very good even after welding.
Stainless steel 316L in horology
316L steel is used by Omega, Audemars Piguet and other high-end watchmakers, apart from Rolex who has been using Stainless steel 904L for its cases starting from 1985 (with Rolex Submariner 168000), and for its bracelets from 2006.