Stainless Steel 304 and 316: What’s the difference?

Stainless steel 304 and 316 are the most widely used types of stainless steel. It can be difficult to visually, and sometimes characteristically, tell the difference between the two types of steel. So, what is the difference?

The biggest difference in the types of steel is the presence of molybdenum in stainless 316. Molybdenum is a metallic element that resembles chromium and tungsten in most characteristics. It is especially used for the strengthening and hardening of steel. The most common make up of stainless 316 is 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% molybdenum – whereas stainless 304 is typically 18% chromium and 8% nickel. The molybdenum is added to stainless 316 to help resist corrosion to chlorides.

Stainless 304 has excellent resistance to corrosion and rust, but may be susceptible to corrosion from chloride solutions. Stainless 316, however, is ideal for applications that will be exposed to marine, pharmaceutical, and chemical elements.

The infographic below explores more of the differences, and similarities, between the two types of stainless steel.

For more information on which type of stainless steel you should choose for your next project or application contact your local sales representative. You can also find more information on how stainless steel is made here.

Stainless Steel 304 and 316: What’s the Difference?

Stainless Infographic