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Differences: 304 Stainless Steel vs. 316 Stainless Steel

When two pieces of different stainless steel are placed, we cannot identify them. But, there are significant variances at the molecular level. And they are crucial to understanding when selecting stainless steel components for projects. The question of 304 vs. 316 stainless steel is critical. It is to address when choosing stainless steel materials. They are particularly stainless steel enclosures. These are two common stainless steel grades that have many properties. They also have certain distinct advantages that distinguish them from one another. Thus, what is the difference between 304 stainless steel and 316 stainless steel? Also, what are the main differences between the two?

What is Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is steel that has had certain elements added to it. It is to provide various desirable qualities that outperform normal carbon steel. Stainless steel has the same fundamental iron and carbon makeup as other steels. But, it also has a good dosage of chromium. It is the alloy that gives stainless steel its well-known corrosion resistance. Stainless steel comes in various grades, each with slightly different alloy composition. And as a result, there are somewhat varied physical properties. At least 10.5 percent chromium must be present in stainless steel. It may have higher chromium levels, as well as extra alloying substances. They are like molybdenum, nickel, titanium, aluminum, copper, nitrogen, phosphorus, or selenium. We will go through the composition of stainless steel and its qualities. They make it such a useful material in this article.

Different Types of Stainless Steel (Composition)

Stainless steels 304 and 316 are two different varieties of stainless steel. Yet, they are both austenitic stainless steel. Internal crystal structures known as austenites give austenitic stainless steel extraordinary strength. Also, it endows with corrosion resistance. We will go more particular on the qualities of both the 304 and 316 grades in the next sections. Now we are going to learn a little more about stainless steel.

Due to its corrosion resistance, 304 stainless steel is the most used stainless steel. It contains between 16 and 24 percent chromium, as well as tiny levels of carbon and manganese. And it is up to 35 percent nickel. 18-8 (18/8) stainless steel is the most prevalent type of 304 stainless steel. It comprises 18 percent chromium and 8% nickel.

Stainless steel in the 316 grade is the second most prevalent. It has nearly identical physical and mechanical properties to 304 stainless steel. It is a similar chemical composition as well. The main distinction is that 316 stainless steel contains roughly 2% to 3% molybdenum. Corrosion resistance improves, especially against chlorides and other industrial solvents.

304 stainless steel: 18% chromium, 8% nickel

316 stainless steel: 16% chromium, 10% nickel and 2% molybdenum

1. Physical Properties Comparison

Physical Properties304316
Melting Point1450℃1400℃
Density8.00 g/cm^38.00 g/cm^3
Thermal Expansion17.2 x10^-615.9 x 10^-6
Modulus of Elasticity193 GPA193 GPA
Thermal Conductivity16.2 W/m.K16.3 W/m.K

2. Mechanical Properties Comparison

Mechanical Properties304316
Tensile Strength500-700 MPA400-620 MPA
Elongation A50 mm45% min45% min
Hardness (Brinell)215 Max HB149 Max HB

3. Basic Attributes Comparison

Strong corrosion resistanceExtreme corrosion resistance
High toughness and durabilityHigh toughness and durability
Excellent resistance to heat and coldExcellent resistance to heat and cold
More weldable and workableBe hampered by the molybdenum content
Most widely accessible and least pricedA little more expensive

4. Common Applications Comparison

Kitchen and bathroom equipmentChemical piping
FoodserviceMedical equipment
Architectural elementsMarine equipment
Commercial and medical fieldsPharmaceutical equipment
Water pipingCommercial kitchen appliances
Indoor electrical enclosuresOil and gas extraction equipment
AppliancesManufacturing equipment

Other Differences

1. Cost

304 stainless steel is less expensive than 316 stainless steel. 316 stainless steel is a specialized commodity needed for certain applications. Also, its manufacturing process is more difficult. They contribute to its higher price. The price of 316 stainless steel is, on average, 40% greater than that of 304 stainless steel. 304, besides, is the industry standard stainless steel. Also, it is accessible at a cheaper cost.

2. Natural Corrosion Resistance

316 is more corrosion resistant than related alloys. It is because of the presence of molybdenum. 316 is one of the most commonly used metals in maritime conditions. It is due to its exceptional corrosion resistance. Because of its endurance and purity, 316 stainless steel is also used in hospitals.

3. Heat Resistance

When evaluating different grades of stainless steel, heat resistance is a key feature. 304 has a melting range from 50 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit higher than 316. 304 has a higher melting range than 316. And both have good oxidation resistance in intermittent service. They are up to 870°C (1500°F) and continuous service at 925°C (1697°F).

4. Hardness and Durability

Stainless steel is robust and durable in both forms. As for tensile strength, they are equal. Although 316 stainless steel has a higher yield strength, the difference is minor. Both 304 and 316 stainless steel can reach greater hardness and strength ratings when it is cold.

So Which is Better, 304 Stainless Steel or 316 Stainless Steel?

When choosing between 304 and 316 stainless steel for various uses, each has pros and cons. For example, 316 stainless steel is more resistant to salt and other corrosives. You are making a product. It will expose to chemicals or a marine environment. 316 is the preferable option. 304, yet, is a practical and cost-effective choice for the less corrosion-resistant product. 304 and 316 can be used interchangeably in many applications.

In the following cases, 304 stainless steel may be the superior option:

The application necessitates a high level of formability. Grade 316 has a greater molybdenum concentration, which can affect formability. There are questions about the application’s pricing. Grade 304 is usually less expensive than Grade 316.

In the following cases, 316 stainless steel may be the superior option:

There are a lot of corrosive components in the environment. The material will be submerged or exposed to water on a regular basis. When a higher level of strength and hardness is required.

304 stainless steel is a very adaptable material. It can apply to a wide range of applications. Also, using it always saves money. 316 stainless steel is more flexible and high-quality steel. YZ shower drain utilizes 304 stainless steel. There is an optimal combination of cost and performance.

YZ Stainless Steel Shower Drain

YZ shower drain is made with premium stainless steel. It is also manufactured with advanced technology. It remains stable and robust all the time. A brushed chrome surface brings about the least maintenance. It makes the shower drain have more service life. It has a great ability to resist corrosion, rust, and scratch. So, it remains fresh even after several years. The combination of excellent durability and high quality comes as a top priority. It seeks a superior sense of use and a finer sense of comfort, expressed in organic simplicity. Smooth slides can lead to soft touch when it comes to installation and operation. It prevents unnecessary scratches and injuries. The Thick brushed chrome panel has been polished to give a safer and gentler experience. It is with great amazing anti-slip effect.

The debate between SS304 and SS316 has raged for years. And the only way to choose the appropriate one is to grasp its features, benefits, and uses. If you look for a stainless steel shower drain, this article will walk you through the criteria. And you will know how to choose the best one. This may be useful. Also, a professional manufacturer with experience can help you select the proper material. This is where YZ enters the picture.

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