What is the difference between 316 vs 316L stainless steel?

As one of the most commonly used stainless steels, 316 series stainless steel comes in two main types.

316 stainless steel (CF8M) and 316L stainless steel (CF3M)

This steel performs better than 310 and 304 stainless steel due to the extra molybdenum contained in it. Stainless steel 316 also has good resistance to chloride erosion, so it is commonly used in Marine environments. It is important to understand the alloy differences when you choose 316 vs 316L stainless steel

316L stainless steel

316 vs 316L stainless steel composition

GradeCCrMnNiPSiS
3160.0318.0-21.01.59.0-12.00.041.500.04
316L0.0817.0-21.01.59.0-13.00.041.500.03
The chemical compositions of 316 and 316L stainless steels were compared

The difference between 316 vs 316L stainless steels is that 316L has a maximum carbon content of 0.08% and good weldability, while 316 has a carbon content of 0.03% and medium weldability.

Both 316 and 316L stainless steels are austenitic stainless steels, which means that these stainless steels are resistant to corrosion through the use of iron carbide during the manufacturing process.

316 vs 316L stainless steel composition

The difference between 316 vs 316L stainless steels is that 316L has a maximum carbon content of 0.08% and good weldability, while 316 has a carbon content of 0.03% and medium weldability.

Both 316 and 316L stainless steels are austenitic stainless steels, which means that these stainless steels are resistant to corrosion through the use of iron carbide during the manufacturing process.

In addition to chromium and nickel, these alloys contain molybdenum, which also makes them more resistant to corrosion. 317L has higher corrosion resistance, with molybdenum content increasing from 2% to 3% in 316 and 316L to 3% to 4%.

316 vs 316L stainless steel cost

Although 316 stainless steel has a lower carbon content than 316L stainless steel, the price of the two stainless steels is about the same. Neither the 316 nor the 316L is the cheapest option. The 304 is similar to the 304L, but the price is lower. Both are less durable than 317 and 317L, which have a higher molybdenum content and have better overall corrosion resistance.

316 vs 316L stainless steel applications

Due to the above qualities, 316 stainless steel has a variety of uses, including:

  • Medical implant
  • The line of control
  • The condenser
  • Semiconductor
  • Heat exchanger
  • Food processing Equipment
  • Hot Water System
  • Alloy seamless steel tube
316 vs 316L stainless steel

Summary

316L stainless steel is one of the variants of 316 stainless steel and has many similarities. The main difference between the 316 and 316L brands is their ingredients. 316L stainless steel is a low carbon variant of 316 stainless steel because it has a lower carbon content than 316 stainless steel. The carbon content of 316 stainless steel is up to 0.08%, while the maximum carbon content of 316L stainless steel is 0.03%. 316H, by contrast, is the high-carbon version. The 316L also be softer than the 316 because of its low carbon content. In addition, the 316 alloy has more molybdenum than 316L, which makes it more resistant to pitting and crevice corrosion and provides better protection from exposure to perchloride chemicals and acids. The proportions of the other elements, 316 and 316 are similar.

They also differ in yield strength and tensile strength.

The difference in composition leads to the use of 316 and 316L in different applications, with the 316L more suitable for manufacturing processes that require a lot of soldering because the lower carbon content minimizes harmful carbide deposits. The 316L is the medical implant of choice in more cases than the 316.

Ask your Alloy Partner