316 vs 316L Stainless Steel: Application in Rapid Prototyping

316 vs 316L Stainless Steel: Application in Rapid Prototyping

Stainless steel is commonly used for rapid prototyping because it is strong, durable, corrosion resistant, and can also be used for multiple different purposes. It is an important material that can be manufactured in a variety of ways, including through precision machining cnc and sheet metal casting. There are many different grades of common stainless steel, and it’s important to understand the difference between 316 and 316L stainless steel.

You need to know the difference between 316 and 316L stainless steel in order to use them. Therefore, this article will put an end to the debate about 316 vs. 316L stainless steel. It will introduce both types of stainless steel in terms of what they are made of and how they work. It will then explain the similarities and differences between 316 and 316l stainless steel. There is also some content in the article to help you choose the right stainless steel.

Table of Contents

What Is 316 Stainless Steel?

People usually call 316 stainless steel “Grade 316”. It is a common stainless steel alloy with austenitic characteristics. It has a maximum carbon content of 0.08% and a molybdenum content of 2% to 3%. Because it contains additional molybdenum, it is resistant to rust and is used in acidic conditions, pitting, and high temperatures.

Properties of 316 Stainless Steel

Due to its properties, 316 stainless steel can be used for rapid prototyping tasks for a variety of applications. Here are some important properties about it:

  • Because it is very strong, you can mold it in different ways without it breaking
  • Since it is highly resistant to corrosion and pitting, it can be used to create items that are exposed to acids and chemicals
  • It can be molded and welded very well
  • The modulus of elasticity is approximately 193 GPa
  • Melting point between 13710C and 13990C
  • Tensile strength is at least 515 MPa
  • Density is 7.98g/cm3

Uses of 316 Steel

316 stainless steel is commonly used to manufacture items that require high corrosion resistance. This material is used in the manufacture of heat exchangers, pharmaceutical and photographic equipment, pumps, and parts that frequently come into contact with water. This alloy is also used in evaporators and chemical processing equipment.

What is 316L Stainless Steel?

Grade 316l stainless steel is another name for 316 stainless steel, which has a lower carbon content than 316 stainless steel. Overall, it consists of molybdenum and 0.03% carbon. This low carbon content reduces the effects of carbide precipitation when handling sheet metal in ways such as welding.

properties of 316L Stainless Steel

Due to the way it is fabricated, 316L stainless steel can also be used in rapid prototyping processes for different applications. Here are some important properties about it:

  • It has great creep resistance
  • It can be altered well into many different shapes and sizes
  • 316L breaks easily at high temperatures and has a good tensile strength
  • The main reason 316L stainless steel differs from 316 stainless steel is that it contains less carbon and molybdenum. As a result, it has better corrosion resistance than 316 stainless steel

Uses of 316L Stainless Steel

Many industries commonly use 316L stainless steel to manufacture tools and materials. These industries include:

  • Chemical and food processing companies
  • Marine
  • Jewelry
  • Businesses that treat water
  • Power generation companies

Thanks to its mechanical properties, it can be used for rapid prototyping, sheet metal fabrication, and CNC machining. In the medical field, metal splints printed in 316L have good mechanical properties, can withstand tensile forces, have a long service life, and look good.

316 and 316L Stainless Steels: What They Have in Common

We will learn some important similarities between 316 and 316L steels. This will help us further understand the differences between them and also help you choose which type of stainless steel to use in your project.

Corrosion Resistance

Both 316 and 316L stainless steels are highly resistant to corrosion, which is especially useful in the presence of chlorides. These types of stainless steel contain molybdenum and nickel and are therefore resistant to acids and salts.

Chemical Composition

The chemicals that make up stainless steel are, of course, very similar. However, the composition of carbon is different.

High Flexibility

Both 316 and 316L are very flexible. Because of this, they can easily be made into different shapes. In addition, they do not crack when stretched, pierced, bent, rotated, or subjected to other manufacturing processes.

Weldability

This is a good choice for manufacturing processes that require a lot of welding because it is very strong. They are easy to cut into different shapes and can be used in projects.

Price

Even though 316 and 316L stainless steel have slightly different carbon contents, there is not much of a price difference between them. The price of both stainless steels is basically the same.

What Is the Difference between 316 Stainless Steel and 316L Stainless Steel?

You may be wondering what the difference is between 316 Stainless Steel and 316L Stainless Steel, even though they serve the same purpose. We will discuss the differences between 316 and 316L stainless steel in this section.

Corrosion Resistance

316L stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion from acids and chlorides than 316 stainless steel. The reason for this is that it contains less carbon and more molybdenum. Because of this, 316L stainless steel is better suited for your project because it can withstand more acids, chemicals, and environments.

Low Carbon Content

In manufacturing that requires a lot of welding, 316l stainless steel is better than 316 stainless steel because it has a lower carbon content. This is the main difference between 316 stainless steel and 316L stainless steel. Because of this, there is less carbide formation, which can cause the metal to decompose after welding. Because of this, 316L is a better choice for jobs that require frequent welding.

General Mechanical Properties

In terms of mechanical properties, 316 stainless steel is superior to 316L: it has a stronger tensile strength and is harder than 316L.

How to Choose the Right 316 or 316L Stainless Steel

When selecting 316 and 316L stainless steel, the following points should be considered according to the needs of the project.

Corrosion Resistance

The carbon content in 316 and 316L stainless steel makes them different. 316L stainless steel has a lower carbon content than 316 stainless steel. As a result, 316L stainless steel is better than 316 stainless steel for some applications, such as where corrosion resistance is required.

Cost

Price is an important factor when choosing any type of steel. However, the price difference between 316 Stainless Steel and 316L Stainless Steel is not an issue because they have slightly different carbon contents. Your choice should therefore depend on the needs of your job.

Magnetic Properties

316 stainless steel is not magnetic because it does not react well to magnetic fields. However, the solid structure of some 316 stainless steels can be altered by further processing, such as welding, to make them more magnetic.

Fabrication Process

Before choosing which stainless steel to use for sheet metal casting or CNC machining, you need to understand the differences between 316l stainless steel and 316 stainless steel. A tip for sheet metal design is that if welding is to be used, do not use stainless steel with a high carbon content.

This is because the steel may crack as it cools due to the heat and rigidity. Therefore, stainless steel with a lower carbon content should be used. Based on the characteristics listed, 316L stainless steel has a lower carbon content than 316 stainless steel.

Mechanical Properties

Both alloys have good mechanical properties. If the tensile strength, ductility, and hardness of the two metals are compared, it can be seen that 316 stainless steel is better than 316L. Therefore, the choice of steel depends on the job requirement.

Selecting the right 316 or 316L stainless steel for your part machining

Conclusion

The type of stainless steel is important because it depends on the needs of the project. Because of this, there is a lot of debate and similarities in the grades of steel. the difference between 316 and 316l stainless steel is often mentioned.

The difference between 316 and 316l stainless steel exists because they are used and manufactured differently. This article describes the differences between 316 and 316l stainless steel by describing their types, properties, and uses. It then explains the variations and similarities between 316 and 316L stainless steel and how to choose the right stainless steel.

It’s hard to tell the difference between 316 and 316L stainless steel. If you just need the job done and want a quality product, Yonglihao Machinery is your best choice. We have the best 316 and 316L stainless steel. With our years of experience and high level of customer satisfaction, we remain one of the best in-line rapid prototyping service providers in China.

FAQ

The “L” in 316L stands for “low” and refers to the low carbon content of the steel, which does not exceed 0.08%. This is the main difference between 316 stainless steel and 316L stainless steel as far as their uses are concerned. For example, 316L Stainless Steel is more suitable for projects that require stainless steel that will not crack due to its lower carbon content.

316L stainless steel contains molybdenum, which makes it more resistant to corrosion. This helps prevent the product from rusting when exposed to environments such as air, chlorine, and salt.

Because 316L stainless steel contains a small amount of nickel, its use in manufacturing processes does not sensitize most people. Because of this, it is hypoallergenic and can be used in the manufacture of medical tools and jewelry.

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