316 vs 316L Stainless Steel: The Differences Explained

What is 316 stainless steel?

Due to the addition of molybdenum, 316 stainless steel has excellent corrosion resistance, work hardening (non-magnetic),atmospheric corrosion resistance and high temperature strength, and can be used under harsh conditions.

Scope of application:

Equipment used in seawater, chemical, dye, papermaking, oxalic acid, fertilizer and other production equipment;

Photography, food industry, coastal facilities, ropes, CD rods, bolts, nuts.

What is 316L stainless steel? (L is low carbon)

As a low-carbon series of 316 steel, it has the same characteristics as 316 steel and excellent grain boundary corrosion resistance.

Scope of application: products with special requirements for grain boundary corrosion resistance.

See also:

What’s the difference between 316 and 316L stainless steel?

316 and 316L stainless steels are molybdenum containing stainless steels.

The molybdenum content of 316L stainless steel is slightly higher than that of 316 stainless steel.

Due to the molybdenum in the steel, the overall performance of this steel is better than 310 and 304 stainless steel.

Under high temperature conditions, when the concentration of sulfuric acid is lower than 15% and higher than 85%, 316 stainless steel has a wide range of applications.

316 stainless steel also has good chloride corrosion resistance, so it is usually used in marine environment.

316L stainless steel has a maximum carbon content of 0.03%, which can be used in applications where annealing cannot be performed after welding and maximum corrosion resistance is required.

Chemical composition

Heat resistance:

316 stainless steel has good oxidation resistance in intermittent use below 1600 ℃ and continuous use below 1700 ℃.

In the range of 800-1575 ℃, it is better not to continuously use 316 stainless steel.

However, when 316 stainless steel is continuously used outside this temperature range, the stainless steel has good heat resistance.

The carbide precipitation resistance of 316L stainless steel is better than that of 316 stainless steel, and the above temperature range can be used.

Heat treatment:

Annealing is performed in the temperature range of 1850-2050 ℃, followed by rapid annealing and then rapid cooling.

316 stainless steel cannot be hardened by heat treatment.


316 stainless steel has good weldability.

All standard welding methods can be used for welding.

316Cb, 316L or 309Cb stainless steel filler rods or welding rods can be used for welding according to the purpose.

In order to obtain the best corrosion resistance, the welded section of 316 stainless steel needs to be annealed after welding.

If 316L stainless steel is used, post weld annealing is not required.

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