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HPS Tubing and Hose with CF fittings

304 vs. 316 Stainless Steel

n recent years we have received several inquir ies about components made of 304 vs. 316 stainless steel. There are many issues involved in the question of the advantages and disadvantages of 304 and 316 components. 316 stainless has 2% to 2.5% molybdenum compared to 304, which has about 0.5%. 316 has slightly more nickel and slightly less chromium than 304. The result of these slight differences in chemical composition is that 316 stain -

316 stainless generally costs 25%-35% more than 304.


less steel is substantially more resistant to corrosion. In terms of machinability, weldability, particle genera tion and vacuum properties, there are no real differences

Vaccum Products Group 5330 Sterling Drive Boulder, CO USA 80301 (303)449-9861 or (800)345-1967 Fax: (303)442-6880 www.mksinst.com

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between 316 and 304. In all other technical respects that are of interest to our custom ers, 316 and 304 are identical. 316 stainless generally costs 25%-35% more than 304. 316 is not as readily available in as wide a variety of sizes, forms, and surface finishes as 304. Since neither we, nor our suppliers gener ally stock 316 stainless, due to the low demand for this mate rial, the delivery times for products made with 316 are much longer than those for their counterparts. Also be cause of the small demand for 316 components, a special setup is required to machine the 316 flanges used with these components, although the actual machining time is the same as for 304. Since the order quantities for the 316 components are usually small, this setup time signifi cantly increases the overall cost per part. For some applications cus tomers request low carbon content steel, which is re Continued on Page 2

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HPS Tubing

Ferrite Numbers

errite number is a standardized value, designating the fer rite content of stainless steel weld metal. Ferrite number is a measure of one particular type of iron crystalline structure in stainless steel, and for our purposes reflects the weld ability of the steel.

...ferrite can control hot cracking which leads to welds with better vacuum integrity.
From a vacuum perspec tive, ferrite number effects stainless steel mostly in the welding process. Hot crack ing, also called microfissur ing, occurs before the weld cools to room temperature. During welding the rapid heating and cooling traps ferrite in the structure at the weld. Weld metal with a fer rite number less than 3 is considerably more suscepti ble to hot cracking than weld metal with ferrite number greater than 5. At ferrite numbers from 3 to 8, ferrite can control hot crack ing which leads to welds with better vacuum integ rity. Also from a vacuum standpoint increased ferrite may improve resistance to stress corrosion. At MKS, ferrite numbers are calculated for all stain less steel material used in our components. The mate rial certifications, which MKS receives with all plate and tube, give a chemical analysis of the stainless steel, from which we calcu late the ferrite number.
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304... Continued from Page 1


ferred to as 304L or 316L. 304L and 316L have carbon contents of 0.03% in compari son to the 0.08% in regular 304 and 316. When welding stainless, there is a narrow zone called the HAZ-Heat af fected zone, where there is in tergranular precipitation of chromium carbides. When in tergranular chromium car bides are precipitate at the weld joint, resistance to inter granular corrosion and stress corrosion decreases. This in tergranular precipitation of chromium carbide is reduced by using 304L or 316L low carbon content stainless steel. MKS has a long history of successfully using and selling 304 stainless steel compo nents. We believe that our 304 stainless steel components provide the best combination of performance, reliability, cost, and availability. HPS standard products are made with 304 stainless steel, however we have and can sup ply 316, 304L, or 316L stain less steel components when the customers application warrants the extra cost and lengthened delivery time.

HPS Tubing is available in a variety of lengths

Ferrite...Continued from Page 1


Usually plate has a lower ferrite number, typically 3 to 5, since it is easier to roll. Seamed tubing usually has a higher ferrite number, typi cally 5 to 8, since it is welded at the seam. For vacuum com ponents, flanges are usually welded to tube, the lower fer rite of the parts made from plate mixes with the higher ferrite number from the tube to give a vacuum weld of high integrity. If the components made from plate have a ferrite number of less than 3, and we attempt to weld to stainless steel tubing with a ferrite number less than 5, some hot cracking may occur leading to an unsatisfactory vacuum connection. MKS has found that by monitoring ferrite numbers and controlling welding parameters, we achieve excellent control over the quality of our welds.

Seamed vs. seamless tubing

e h a v e r eceived several inquiries about seamless stainless steel tubing. There are many issues involved in the question of the advantages and disadvantages of seamed and seamless tubing. While this is not intended to be a de finitive treatise on the topic, it covers some of the issues in volved. Seamed tubing is made from stainless steel sheets that are formed into a tube shape and then welded along the area of overlap or abutment. This welded area is the "seam" in seamed tubing. Seamless tubing is made by extruding stainless steel into a tube shape so that there is no welded seam. In order to have

the needed properties for the extrusion process, stainless steel must be formulated with a lower ferrite number than stainless steel which is used to

...if the purpose of switching from seamed to seamless tubing is to reduce the possibility of leaks, you may actually achieve the opposite result...
make seamed tubing. This lower ferrite number in creases the possibility of hot cracking and leaking in weld joints, which are sub sequently made for connec tion of the tubing.

Seamless tubing generally costs two to four times more than seamed tubing in sizes up to two inches and is more than four times expensive in sizes of three inches or more. Since neither we nor our suppliers generally stock seamless tub ing, due to the low demand for this material, the delivery times for products made with seamless tubing are signifi cantly longer than those for their seamed counterparts In light of this, you must consider that if the purpose of switching from seamed to seamless tubing is to reduce the possibility of leaks, you may actually achieve the op posite result, while raising costs and increasing delivery times.

MKS has a long history of successfully using seamed tubing and selling it alone and incorporated into our fabri cated products. Our tubing meets the standards of ASTM 269, which specifies eddy current testing of all tubing to ensure seam integrity. We be lieve that our seamed stainless steel tubing, and the products that we fabricate from it, pro vide the best combination of weld joint integrity, cost and availability. HPS standard products are made with seamed tubing, however we have and can sup ply seamless tubing when the customers application war rants the extra cost and length ened delivery time.