316 VS 316L Stainless Steel : What’s the Difference?

Difference between stainless steel 316 and 316L.

Due to its durability, anti-corrosive qualities, strength, and other characteristics, stainless steel is a prominent material used in various applications. It is a valuable material manufactured for multiple applications using sheet metal fabrication and CNC machining methods. While important, stainless steel comes in various grades, with the 316 vs 316L stainless steel dispute being popular.

It is essential to grasp the difference between 316 and 316l stainless steel before using it. Consequently, this article will compare 316 and 316l stainless steels. It will go through the composition and attributes of two different stainless steel varieties. It will then compare and contrast the qualities of 316 and 316l stainless steel. The post will also show you various aspects that might help you select the correct one to employ

What is 316 stainless steel?

316 stainless steel, often known as grade 316, is a popular stainless steel alloy with austenite characteristics. It contains up to 0.08% carbon and 2-3% molybdenum. Additional molybdenum makes it corrosion-resistant, acid-resistant, pitting-resistant, and temperature-resistant.

What is 316L stainless steel?

Compared to 316 stainless steel, 316l stainless steel, also known as grade 316l, has a reduced carbon content. It contains molybdenum and a maximum carbon concentration of 0.03. Because of the low carbon concentration, carbide precipitation is reduced during sheet metal manufacturing procedures like welding.
Differences between 316 and 316L stainless steel
Although both grades of stainless steel have comparable qualities, what is the difference between 316 and 316L stainless steel? This part will look at the numerous variables that distinguish 316 from 316l stainless steel.
Compared to SS 410 chemical composition, SS 316 has higher corrosion resistance and weldability and is more extensively utilized. It is, however, more expensive. Concerning corrosion and corrosion resistance qualities, 316 stainless steel is superior; yet, in certain rare instances, it cannot match 410 stainless steel.
Corrosion resistance
316L stainless steel is more resistant to chlorine and acid corrosion than 316. This is due to its higher molybdenum content and lower carbon content. As a result, since it can endure high rates of environmental variables, chemicals, and acids, 316l stainless steel is an excellent option for your project.
Mechanical Properties
Comparatively, the mechanical qualities of 316 stainless steel are superior to those of 316L stainless steel. It is more challenging and ductile than 316L.
Magnetic Properties

Magnetic fields do not affect 316 stainless steel. Unlike basic stainless steels, which are ferromagnetic, most stainless steels (including 316) are austenitic, which means they are practically nonmagnetic.

On the other hand, some 316 stainless steel objects may be exposed to techniques such as cold forming and welding, which alter the austenitic crystal structure to ferromagnetic martensite. Magnetism is more sensitive in 316L steel.

Practical applications
Both forms of stainless steel have a broad range of applications. However, since it is robust, pit-resistant, and corrosion-resistant in most situations, 316 is predominantly employed in building and infrastructure. Because it can survive welding and the effects of corrosive chemicals, 316L is a common material for manufacturing equipment used in the pharmaceutical and photographic industries.

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