316 & 316L Stainless Steel

Austenitic 316L and 316 stainless steel alloys are highly regarded for their numerous beneficial qualities. Due to their high chromium, molybdenum and nickel contents, these two types of stainless steel alloys have superior corrosion resistance and are highly suitable for marine applications. Austenitic 316 and 316L stainless steels are also an appropriate choice for finishing processes such as annealing, heat treating and machining.

Contact us for more information regarding our 316L and 316 stainless steel options today or call us at 800-748-0271 and we would be happy to assist you with any questions that you may have.

316L & 316 Stainless Steel Properties 

Austenitic 316 stainless steel is a molybdenum-bearing material that exhibits numerous beneficial qualities, including:

  • Good strength
  • Creep resistance
  • Rugged toughness
  • Excellent mechanical properties
  • Corrosion resistance (especially in low temperature applications)

Applications for 316 Stainless Steel

Stainless steel 316 alloys are often one of the most suitable choices when choosing a stainless steel that requires extreme corrosion resistance. Some of the applications that benefit from the use of stainless steel alloy 316, include:

  • Chemical processing and storage equipment.
  • Refinery equipment
  • Medical devices
  • Marine & high chloride environments

316L & 316 Stainless Steel Properties

Whether you are forging 316 stainless steel or utilizing another process, austenitic grade 316L and 316 stainless steels exhibit a wide range of beneficial qualities that make it a highly useful stainless steel alloy for a bevy of industries. The following chart provides detailed information on the elemental makeup of these stainless steel alloys.

316 Stainless Steel Composition 


% Content (316)

% Content (316L)


max. 0.08%

max. 0.03%


max. 0.045%

max. 0.045%


max. 1.0%

max. 1.0%


10.0 – 14.0%

10.0 – 14.0%


2.0 – 3.0%

2.0 – 3.0%


max. 2.0%

max. 2.0%


max. 0.03%

max. 0.03%


16.0 – 18.0%

16.0 – 18.0%







316 Stainless Steel Manufacturing Processes

Austenitic grade 316 and 316L stainless steels can be processed through numerous means including annealing, heat treating and machining. These processes allow 316L and 316 stainless steel alloys to be used for applications that require supreme corrosion resistance, strength and toughness. The following types of processes allow these stainless steel alloys to be used for a wide range of applications.

Heat Treating 316 Stainless Steel

The heat treatment of 316 and 316L stainless steel provides several benefits to the overall finished value of the material. Some of the details associated with heat treating 316, include:

  • Annealing temperature range of 1900 to 2100°F (1038 to 1149°C).
  • Non-hardenable via heat treatment.
  • To avoid distortion and warping, certain considerations are necessary to compensate for a higher coefficient of thermal expansion.

Cold Forming 316 Stainless Steel

Steel cold forming is a process that is utilized in a room temperature environment. Some of the processes included in cold forming include rolling, pressing, bending and stamping. Since stainless 316 and 316L exhibit extremely tough and ductile characteristics, they can be rolled, swagged, cold headed or deep drawn.

316 Stainless Steel Machinability

Like all austenitic grades, 316 and 316L stainless steel work harden rapidly; because of this, heavy positive feeds should be considered. To prevent glazing, rigidly supported tools with the heaviest possible cut should be used. The machining 316/316L stainless steel creates a rough, stringy swarf. Some guidelines that should be considered when machining austenitic 316, include:

  • Machines with chip characteristics that are tough and strong.
  • Chip breakers and curlers should be utilized.
  • Large tool should be used.
  • A liberal amount of cutting fluid should be considered.
  • Utilize heavy, positive feeds at low speeds for the best results.

316 Stainless Steel Weldability 

Stainless steel alloys 316 and 316L demonstrate excellent weldability through all standard fusion methods. Certain heavy welded sections of 316 stainless steel may require post-weld annealing for maximum corrosion resistance, however, this process is not required for 316L.

316 Stainless Steel Hardness Characteristics

The hardness level of 316 and 316L stainless steel is based on the Rockwell scale that judges a materials hardness level. The Rockwell test determines the hardness of the material by measuring the depth of penetration of an indenter under a large load compared to the penetration made by a preload. Annealed 316 stainless steel has a Brinell scale hardness of 149, and Rockwell hardness of B80. Moreover, austenitic 316 stainless steel materials cannot be hardened via heat treatment.

Contact us for more information on 316 and 316L stainless steel, or request a quote today.

Key Differences Between 316 & 316L Stainless Steel

Standard 316 stainless steel has an increased molybdenum content over 316L, which provides increased resistance to pitting and crevice corrosion within marine environments. The higher molybdenum content also provides better protection when exposed to high-chloride chemicals and acids. In comparison, 316L stainless steel is a low-carbon variation of 316, with a maximum carbon content of 0.03%. This minimizes harmful carbide precipitation caused by welding, allowing for 316L's use in as-welded condition (with no post-weld annealing), or in corrosive applications.

Great Lakes Forge & 316 Stainless Steel Capabilities

Great Lakes Forge provides complete custom forging capabilities for 316 stainless steel and 316L stainless steel. We can deliver forgings up to 6,000 lbs., in lengths up to 12', and from 2.5" to 24" in diameter/thickness. Forgings are available in a range of "standard" shapes, including:

Additionally, we offer low to medium volume production and prototyping, all with the industry's fastest turnaround times. We can provide numerous milling and rough turning capabilities.

Turnkey Driven Results

We use our in-house machine shop, quality-controlled heat treating processes, and proven testing capabilities to guarantee quality, consistency, and dimensional accuracy.

In addition to 316/316L stainless steel, Great Lakes Forge can forge over 100 different materials. If you need a specific grade of steel for your project, please don't hesitate to contact us. There's a good chance we have the material you need in our inventory, and if we don't, close relationships with our material providers enable us to bring in the material your project requires quickly and cost-effectively.

Contact Great Lakes Forge for 316 Stainless Steel Today

Contact Great Lakes Forge for more information regarding our forging 316 stainless steel processes or request a quote today on 316 stainless steel products.