3 Epic Differences Between 304 vs. 316 Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a sought-after material for many projects worldwide due to its durability, weldability, flexibility, and high machinability. It has different grades with unique properties and several elements in different percentages. Are you trying to determine which stainless steel to use for your project and can’t decide between 304 vs. 316 stainless steel? This blog will help you determine which stainless steel is the right choice.

304 vs. 316 Stainless Steel: The Differences

You need to understand the differences between stainless steel 304 vs. 316 to land on the right decision. The differences below will help you determine which stainless steel grade to choose:

  1. Difference in Chemical Composition
    The primary difference between 304 vs. 316 stainless steel is their chemical composition. 304 stainless steel has 18% chromium and 8% nickel, whereas 316 stainless steel comprises 16% chromium, 10% nickel,and 2% molybdenum.The differences in the chemical composition of SS 316 and SS 304 are evident in their properties and applications.
  2. Difference in Mechanical Properties Mechanical properties to look for when choosing stainless steel includes:
    • Tensile Strength: The energy required to split a material part, which in the case of 304 SS is 520-720 MPa (8mm thick), 540-750 MPa (8-75mm thick), and 500-700 MPa (160 mm thick). Comparatively, in the case of SS 316, it is 530-680 MPa (8mm thick), 520-670 (8-75 mm thick), and 500-700 MPa (160 mm thick)
    • Yield Strength: The maximum required for metal to change its shape permanently. In the case of 304vs. 316 stainless steel, the yield strength is 215 MPa (304 SS) and 290 MPa (316 SS). This means that 316 stainless steel properties make it a suitable option for products subjected to more force than SS 304.
    • Hardness: The property of a material that tells of its ability to resist abrasion, penetration, indentation, and deformation. In SS 304, the hardness is 70 Rockwell B. In contrast, SS 316’s hardness is 79 Rockwell B. If your project is more friction inclined, we suggest stainless steel 316 even though there is not much between the hardness of both.
    • Modulus of Elasticity: This property shows the relationship between stress and strain and how deformation affects a material. Stainless steel 304 responds better to deformation with a modulus of elasticity of 193-200 GPa, while SS 316 has 164 GPa.
  3. Difference in Corrosion Resistance
    When comparing 304 vs. 316 stainless steel for corrosion resistance, SS 316 takes the lead. It contains 2% molybdenum, which helps in making it resistant to chlorine. Moreover, this grade has better resistance to acid and alkalis. Hence, stainless steel 316 is a better candidate for manufacturing products used in a marine environment as they are exposed to chlorides and other oxidation agents. Comparatively, SS 304 is anti-corrosive akin to typical stainless steel, and offers excellent resistance. But, it is not as good as stainless steel 316.

What’s The Takeaway?

304 vs. 316 stainless steel has many differences; we have given three to help you decide which one to go for. Do you need to buy steel supplies? Fort Bend Steel Supply has the best metal supplies that you will get. Just give us a call at 281-499-5800.

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