The Differences Between 316 Straight Grade and 316L Stainless Steel

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There can be a wide variety when it comes to stainless steel hardware products. 316 stainless steel is used in a variety of industries and in hundreds of applications because it is versatile, reliable, and economical. While the differences between a 316L and a 316 straight grade may seem insignificant, they are actually two-fold in both mechanical properties and chemistry. One of the basic differences between the two grades is that 316L stainless steel has a lower maximum carbon limit while the 316 straight grade has increased mechanical properties.

Presuming the mechanicals have already been met and the material is certified as straight grade, the carbon content would have to be at a level of 0.030% maximum in order to be dual certified as 316L/316 grade. If the material is certified as 316L that implies the carbon is at a maximum level of 0.030% and this can only be certified to the straight grade if the increased mechanicals is met.

Both 316 straight Grade and 316L steel, are considered molybdenum-bearing grades that have properties that make them highly resistant to corrosive degradation (more than a 304 grade). The grade 316 doesn’t have strong forming and welding characteristics, but it has the ability to fold or roll making it easily transformed for a number of applications. So when the 316 grade needs to be heavily welded it will require post-weld annealing for maximum corrosion resistance, while this is not required for grade 316L. 316L steel is the lower carbon version of the 316 straight grade and is immune from sensitization; therefore, it is very frequently used in heavy gauge welded components.

Order 316 Stainless Steel For Your Next Project
At Atlantic Stainless, we are here to help you with any questions you may have with your next stainless steel project. Because of its outstanding welding capabilities and toughness against corrosion 316L grade and 316 stainless steel are used for food preparation equipment, marine, coastal architecture, boat fittings, woven screens for quarrying and water filtration, heat exchangers, jet engine parts, and much more. For more information about how we can assist you, fill out our online form or give us a call at 800-876-2700, today!