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AISI 316 vs 316L Stainless Steel, Difference of SS316 & SS316L Properties Composition Yield Strength Density

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AISI 316 vs 316L Stainless Steel (UNS S31603)

Both AISI 316 vs 316L stainless steel are molybdenum (Mo) containing austenitic stainless steel grades. The main difference between 316 and 316L stainless steel is the level of carbon content, weldability, corrosion resistance and mechanical properties. SS316 has a 0.08% max carbon content while SS316L (UNS S31603) only has a maximum 0.03% carbon content.

Since SS 316L has a much lower carbon content than SS316, the welding of 316L stainless steel is better than SS 316. In addition, AISI 316 might lead to stress-corrosion cracking or dimensional instability in service after welding, so postweld heat treatment is required for stress relief to reduce intergranular corrosion or stress-assisted intergranular corrosion, while SS316L generally does not have these problems.

SS316L can be used in applications where annealing cannot be performed after welding and maximum corrosion resistance is required.

AISI 316 (UNS S31600) and 316L (UNS S31603) are US steel grades, SUS 316 and SUS 316L are Japanese stainless steel grades.

Because of the additional molybdenum in this steel, the overall performance of the steel is better than that of AISI 310 and AISI 304 stainless steel. SS316 also has good resistance to chloride attack and is therefore commonly used in the marine environment.

Material 316L meaning: “3” refers to 300 series austenitic chromium-nickel alloys, L is stand for “Low carbon”.

Difference Between SS316 and SS316L Chemical Composition

Difference between 316 and 316L stainless steel composition is summarized in the tables below.

SS316 and SS316L Chemical Composition (%)
UNSGradeC, ≤Si, ≤Mn, ≤P, ≤S, ≤NiCrMo
UNS S316003160.
UNS S31603316L0.

AISI 316L Stainless Steel Properties

ASTM AISI 316L stainless steel properties are listed in the tables below, including mechanical properties and physical properties.

SS316 vs SS316L Mechanical Properties

The tables below give AISI 316 vs 316L stainless steel mechanical properties such as yield strength, tensile strength, elongation and hardness in different product forms and conditions.

SS316 vs SS316L Mechanical Properties
ASTM TypeAISI TypeConditionsTensile Strength, MPa(ksi), ≥0.2% Yield Strength, MPa(ksi),≥Elongation in 50 mm (2 in.), %, ≥Reduction of Area, %, ≥Brinell Hardness (HBW), ≤Rockwell Hardness (HRBW), ≤Product forms
ASTM A276/A276M316Annealed, Hot finished515 (75)205 (30)4050Bars and Shapes
316L485 (70)170 (25)4050
316Annealed, Cold finished, Dia.≤12.7 mm (0.5 in.)620 (90)310 (45)3040
316Annealed, Cold finished, Dia>12.7 mm (0.5 in.)515 (75)205 (30)3040
316L485 (70)170 (25)3040
ASTM A580/A580M316Annealed520 (75)210 (30)3550Wire
316L485 (70)170 (25)3550
316Cold finished620 (90)310 (45)3040
ASTM A240/A240M316515 (75)205 (30)4021795Plate, Sheet, and Strip
316L485 (70)170 (25)4021795
ASTM A473/A473M316Annealed515 (75)205 (30)4050Forgings
316L450 (65)170 (25)4050

1 MPa = 1 N/mm2

ASTM SAE AISI 316L Physical Properties

The datasheet below gives SS 316L density, melting point and magnetic permeability.

AISI 316L (UNS S31603) Physical Properties
Density, g/cm3 (lb/in.3)8.03 (0.29)
Melting point, °C (°F)1375-1400 (2500-2550)
Magnetic permeability1.02 (Approximate)

316L Heat Treatment

Annealing: The recommended annealing temperatures for 316L wrought steel is 1400 °C (1900 °F).

Stress Relieving: Stress relief is usually not required unless you know or suspect that the environment will cause stress corrosion.

Development Grades

On the basis of 316, many steel types were developed. For example, after adding a small amount of titanium (Ti), SS 316Ti was developed. 316N was developed after adding a small amount of nitrogen (N), SS 317L was developed from the addition of nickel (Ni) and molybdenum (Mo).

Equivalent Grade

AISI 316L SS equivalent to European EN standards (German DIN, British BSI, French NF…), Japanese JIS standards, Chinese GB standards, ISO and more.

AISI 316L equivalent grade
USEuropean UnionISOJapanChinaAustraliaIndiaRusiaKorea
StandardsTypeStandardsGrade (Steel Number)StandardGrade (ISO Number)StandardGradeStandardsGradeStandardGradeStandardGradeStandardGradeStandardGrade
(UNS S31603)
EN 10088-1; EN 10088-2; EN 10088-3X2CrNiMo17-12-2 (1.4404)ISO 15510X5CrNiMo17-12-2 (4404-316-03-I)JIS G4303SUS316LGB/T 20878;
GB/T 1220;
GB/T 3280
022Cr17Ni12Mo2 (New name)

Tags: SS316 vs SS316L, 316 vs 316L stainless steel, difference between 316 and 316L

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  1. Lukman Hakeem Koottapulan says

    Which is the best stainless steel suitable for the food industry?

    Please confirm.

    1. World Material says


      304, 304L, 316, and 316L stainless steel can be used in the food industry. For most food industries (such as vegetables, rice, noodles, dairy products, etc.), 304 is enough, and 316 is better than 304. However, sauces and pickle liquors are more corrosive (may contain large amounts of chloride) and can even pit 316. To improve pitting resistance, 254SMO and 904L stainless steel should be considered.

      Without consideration of price, the ranking of stainless steel in the food industry is as follows:

      254SMO > 904L > 316L > 316 > 304L > 304.

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