There are several stainless steel grades, which are classified into four major categories. One of the most important categories is austenitic stainless steel. The austenitic stainless steel alloys are further put into several groups based on their chemical composition. One of the most highlighted stainless steel grades belongs to the 300 series. These grades are very versatile and their utility covers several areas, including shipping, marine engineering, general engineering, the petrochemical industry as well as the pharma and food sectors. This being said, grade 316 is the second most used alloys amongst the 300 series. Like most austenitic stainless steel alloys, grade 316 is modifiable. Modifications for stainless steels tend to be on the basis of their application.
Generally, the modifications are minor additions or subtraction in the elements for the specific chemical composition. For instance, marine grade 316 stainless steel has a higher content of carbon in its alloy. Carbon, at elevated temperatures, forms a carbide precipitate and causes sensitization at the grain boundary precipitates. Because of the sensitization, the metal becomes weak, during welding operations. Welding temperatures are often higher as they need to have some melting of the metal in order to fuse it to the other part or fuse itself to form a complete part. And so the melted part, which is the heat affected weld zone tends to have weaker corrosion resistance properties in comparison to the rest of the surface of the components. Since the other surface area has not been heated by the employment of weld treatments the corrosion resistance remains stable. This is a problem that affects welded components of grade 316 stainless steel. As a solution to this problem manufacturers devised a low carbon version of this particular alloy.
The price difference between 316 and 316l stainless steel
Although there are elemental changes in the alloy the material could be dual certified because the changes tend to be at a very minimal level. And so the dual certified alloy will be labeled as 316/316L. Hence, the price for both these alloys would almost be similar to each other.
316 and 316l comparison
Aside from the fact that the content of carbon in stainless steel grade 316L is lower, manufacturers also add nitrogen to its alloy. There are several reasons for adding nitrogen to the alloy. First, the overall mechanical strength of stainless steel grade 316 sees a dip with the reduction of carbon. Second, its tolerance to heat also sees a decline. However, it is because of the lower quantity of carbon in its chemistry, it is possible for grade 316L to be welded without any susceptibility to intergranular corrosion.
Difference between 316 and 316l corrosion resistance
As mentioned previously, the objective for introducing grade 316 stainless steel in the market is its excellent weldability. Lowering the carbon content effectively reduces the alloys vulnerability to intergranular corrosion, in particular to the heat affected weld zone. Similar to grade 316, the low carbon version of the alloy may also be referred to as marine grade steel because it can resist seawater and brine solutions. Hence, the alloy is also dual certified to cater to the needs of several applications. Furthermore, like grade 316, it can resist atmospheric corrosion or what is also referred to as oxidation resistance. Dual certified alloys are also useful in applications that contain halogenic compounds including chlorine and fluorine and bromine. Because they are resistant to corrosion, they form an integral part of consumer goods industries.
316 stainless steel mechanical properties
|Yield Strength 0.2% Proof min. (MPa)
|Tensile Strength min. (MPa)
|Elongation min. (% in 50mm)
|Hardness: Rockwell B (HR B) max.
|Brinell (HB) max.
Stainless steel grade 316 chemical composition
AISI 316 equivalent material
|GERMAN WERKSTOFF NR.
|1.4401 / 1.4436
|316S31 / 316S33
|X5CrNiMo17-12-2 / X3CrNiMo17-13-3
316L stainless steel yield strength & properties
|Elongation (% in 50mm) min
|Tensile Strength (MPa) min
|Rockwell Hardness B (HR B) max
|Yield Strength 0.2% Proof (MPa) min
|Hardness Brinell (HB) max
316L stainless steel composition
|Mn – Manganese
|P – Phosphorous
|Cr – Chromium
|Fe – Iron
AISI 316L stainless steel equivalent
|Z3CND17‐11‐02 / Z3CND18‐14‐03
|GERMAN WERKSTOFF NR.
|1.4404 / 1.4435
|316S11 / 316S13
|03Ch17N14M3 / 03Ch17N14M2
|X2CrNiMo17-12-2 / X2CrNiMo18-14-3
ASTM Specification for 316 stainless steel
ASTM Specification for 316L stainless steel
|SS 316L Pipe
|SS 316L Tube
|SS 316L Sheet
|SS 316L Plate
|SS 316L Pipe Fittings
|SS 316L Tube Fittings
|ASTM A276/ A479
|SS 316L Forged Fittings
|SS 316L Flanges
|SS 316L Fasteners
|SS 316L Forging
|SS 316L Valves
|SS 316L Casting
|SS 316L Round Bars
|ASTM A276/ A479