Editorial Feature

Stainless Steel - Grade 316L - Properties, Fabrication and Applications (UNS S31603)

Grade 316 is the standard molybdenum-bearing grade, second in importance to 304 amongst the austenitic stainless steels. The molybdenum gives 316 better overall corrosion resistant properties than Grade 304, particularly higher resistance to pitting and crevice corrosion in chloride environments.

Grade 316L, the low carbon version of 316 and is immune from sensitization (grain boundary carbide precipitation). Thus it is extensively used in heavy gauge welded components (over about 6mm). There is commonly no appreciable price difference between 316 and 316L stainless steel.

The austenitic structure also gives these grades excellent toughness, even down to cryogenic temperatures.

Compared to chromium-nickel austenitic stainless steels, 316L stainless steel offers higher creep, stress to rupture and tensile strength at elevated temperatures.

Key Properties

These properties are specified for the flat-rolled products (plate, sheet, and coil) in ASTM A240/A240M. Similar but not necessarily identical properties are specified for other products such as pipe and bar in their respective specifications.


Table 1. Composition ranges for 316L stainless steel.

Grade   C Mn Si P S Cr Mo Ni N
316L Min - - - - - 16.0 2.00 10.0 -
Max 0.03 2.0 0.75 0.045 0.03 18.0 3.00 14.0 0.10


Mechanical Properties

Table 2. Mechanical properties of 316L stainless steel.

Grade Tensile Str (MPa) min Yield Str 0.2% Proof (MPa) min Elong (% in 50 mm) min Hardness
Rockwell B (HR B) max Brinell (HB) max
316L 485 170 40 95 217


Physical Properties

Table 3. Typical physical properties for 316-grade stainless steels.

Grade Density (kg/m3) Elastic Modulus (GPa) Mean Co-eff of Thermal Expansion (µm/m/°C) Thermal Conductivity (W/m.K) Specific Heat 0-100 °C (J/kg.K) Elec Resistivity (nΩ.m)
0-100 °C 0-315 °C 0-538 °C At 100 °C At 500 °C
316/L/H 8000 193 15.9 16.2 17.5 16.3 21.5 500 740


Grade Specification Comparison

Table 4. Grade specifications for 316L stainless steel.

Grade UNS No Old British Euronorm Swedish SS Japanese JIS
BS En No Name
316L S31603 316S11 - 1.4404 X2CrNiMo17-12-2 2348 SUS 316L
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Note: These comparisons are approximate only. The list is intended as a comparison of functionally similar materials, not as a schedule of contractual equivalents. If exact equivalents are needed original specifications must be consulted.

Possible Alternative Grades

Table 5. Possible alternative grades to 316 stainless steel.

Grade Why it might be chosen instead of 316?
317L Higher resistance to chlorides than 316L, but with similar resistance to stress corrosion cracking.


Corrosion Resistance

Excellent in a range of atmospheric environments and many corrosive media - generally more resistant than 304. Subject to pitting and crevice corrosion in warm chloride environments, and to stress corrosion cracking above about 60 °C. Considered resistant to potable water with up to about 1000 mg/L chlorides at ambient temperatures, reducing to about 500 mg/L at 60 °C.

316 is usually regarded as the standard “marine grade stainless steel”, but it is not resistant to warm seawater. In many marine environments, 316 does exhibit surface corrosion, usually visible as brown staining. This is particularly associated with crevices and rough surface finish.

Heat Resistance

Good oxidation resistance in intermittent service to 870 °C and in continuous service to 925 °C. Continuous use of 316 in the 425-860 °C range is not recommended if subsequent aqueous corrosion resistance is important. Grade 316L is more resistant to carbide precipitation and can be used in the above temperature range. Grade 316H has higher strength at elevated temperatures and is sometimes used for structural and pressure-containing applications at temperatures above about 500 °C.

Heat Treatment

Solution Treatment (Annealing) - Heat to 1010-1120 °C and cool rapidly. These grades cannot be hardened by thermal treatment.


Excellent weldability by all standard fusion and resistance methods, both with and without filler metals. Heavy welded sections in Grade 316 require post-weld annealing for maximum corrosion resistance. This is not required for 316L.

316L stainless steel is not generally weldable using oxyacetylene welding methods.


316L stainless steel tends to work harden if machined too quickly. For this reason, low speeds and constant feed rates are recommended.

316L stainless steel is also easier to machine compared to 316 stainless steel due to its lower carbon content.

Hot and Cold Working

316L stainless steel can be hot worked using the most common hot working techniques. Optimal hot working temperatures should be in the range 1150-1260 °C, and certainly should not be less than 930 °C. Post-work annealing should be carried out to induce maximum corrosion resistance.

Most common cold working operations such as shearing, drawing, and stamping can be performed on 316L stainless steel. Post-work annealing should be carried out to remove internal stresses.

Hardening and Work Hardening

316L stainless steel does not harden in response to heat treatments. It can be hardened by cold working, which can also result in increased strength.


Typical applications include:

  • Food preparation equipment particularly in chloride environments.
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Marine applications
  • Architectural applications
  • Medical implants, including pins, screws and orthopedic implants like total hip and knee replacements
  • Fasteners


  1. tom perrott tom perrott Portugal says:

    Does 316L s. steel contain Cobalt, when used for internal medical purposes.

    Tom V Perrott   (Lagos Portugal)
    e-mail:  [email protected]

  2. tom perrott tom perrott Portugal says:

    Does any 316L contain any COBALT.
    T v Perrott
    e-mail:   [email protected]

    • Robert Dell Robert Dell United States says:

      My guess since it does not have a CO in the list of ingredients then it does not contain cobalt

      You can answer your own questions if you read the materials.

    • Prabakaran Skp Prabakaran Skp Hong Kong S.A.R. says:

      CO in 316Ls in not posible as my point of view

  3. Charles Daniels Charles Daniels United States says:

    another use this grade of steel in a device for producing hydrogen fuel for propulsion - works quite well

  4. Gaurav Patil Gaurav Patil India says:

    What is the difference when we machine SS304 and SS316L wrt results as Surface finish, Cutting forces, Tool wear, ?

  5. Nikash Partha Nikash Partha India says:

    We are doing machining on SS 316 L making discs. The material tends to get work hardened, resulting in distortion. How and using what parameters can we relieve the stresses generated during the machining process.

  6. Jayesh Patel Jayesh Patel India says:

    we like to have ss316L material without copper content in it...is possible to get from market

  7. John Gagnon John Gagnon Philippines says:

    I'm in the Philippines right now and most people don't have a clue about 316L stainless. ,They fabricate lots of fancy railings, fences, stairs, etc. with what they call stainless and 2 years later it's already starting to corrode.Being a machinist from Canada, I am quite familiar with the different grades. Our welders always used 316L filler wire using Mig argon gas to weld 316L, is there any other way to weld it, to retain the corrosion resistance at the weld? The Filapina guys think they can just weld it with stick or tig, with their version of stainless wire or stick??? I really don't think so, but that's my question..........Thanx!

  8. Manish Gupta Manish Gupta India says:

    Is there any chemical available that can assure the used material is SS316L? please suggest

  9. Samer Khalil Samer Khalil United States says:

    Any special passivation requirements for 316L?

  10. Mr. Waleed Raza Qureshi Mr. Waleed Raza Qureshi Islamic Republic of Pakistan says:

    is it suitable for salt industry?

  11. Thiru Kumaran Thiru Kumaran India says:



  12. Chirag Patel Chirag Patel India says:

    Is there any metal which does not get contaminated by the hazardous solvents.
    Please reply anyone.

  13. Chirag Patel Chirag Patel India says:

    The liquids are having pH value<2, so is there any metal plate which I can use so that the metal does not get contaminated. I want to use the metals for earthing purpose.
    Suggest me if there are any metals available.

  14. Khalid Mahmood Khalid Mahmood U.A.E. says:

    Can we use SS Steel 316 L for fabricating pen-stock valves for SEWAGE and Storm water under ground saline, Blackish water Ponds?

  15. Daniel Brook Daniel Brook United States says:

    What are the magnetic properties of 316L stainless steel sutures?
    Rumor that safe for use in MRI, but I am concerned whether this is possible for any steel product.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of AZoM.com.

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