Difference between 304 and 316 Stainless Steel

Types 304 and 316 are the commonly used Stainless Steel (SS) grades for several industrial applications. They are generally opted to fabricate tubes, pipes, fasteners, and other components, which are applied to function in hostile industrial environments. Both these SS grades are beneficial in terms of superior corrosion resistance, extreme rigidity, and long service life.

Comparison between 304 and 316 Stainless Steel

Both 304 and 316 grades look similar as they are polished or grained the exact same way. So, what makes type 304 differ from type 316? Read on to know more.

Material Composition – The Obvious Difference between Type 304 and Type 316 SS

The type 304 SS contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel. Whereas, type 316 SS has 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% molybdenum. The molybdenum content in 316 SS adds to its corrosion resistance. Also, this grade can withstand sulfuric acid, chlorides, bromides, iodides, fatty acids, and other hydrocarbon solutions. Owing to its exceptional corrosion resistance, 316 stainless steel is largely preferred to fabricate boilers, pressure vessels, petrochemical tanks, and pipes.

Type 304 SS has a low carbon content, which adds to its versatility and ease of fabrication. This grade is used to manufacture enclosures, milk processing & wine making machineries, milk and cream dispensers, and chemical containers.

Other Differences

Type 316 stainless steel is expensive compared to type 304 stainless steel. Also, 316 SS has more resistance to pitting and salt water corrosion. That’s why this grade is generally opted for the marine industry applications. Type 304 stainless steel is easier to weld than type 316 stainless steel. Also, the former is compatible with several types of coatings and finishes compared to 316 SS.

Add Value to your Application by Choosing the Right SS Grade

Although these points seem basic, you must keep them in mind when purchasing stainless steel grades for your application. Choosing the right grade amongst the two is important to determine quality and durability of the final assembly.