• May 17th 2023

In the world of stainless steel, there are various grades and types available, each with its own unique properties and applications. Two such grades that are commonly compared are 410 and 416 stainless steels. This essay will examine the differences between these two grades, focusing on their composition, properties, and applications. We will discuss the following subtopics: composition and basic differences, mechanical properties, corrosion resistance, machinability, and common applications. Finally, we will provide a summary of the key points.

Composition and Basic Differences

410 Stainless Steel

410 stainless steel is a martensitic stainless steel grade that contains a minimum of 11.5% chromium. It is known for its good corrosion resistance and high strength, as well as its ability to be heat treated for improved hardness. The composition of 410 stainless steel is as follows:

  • Chromium: 11.5-13.5%
  • Carbon: 0.08-0.15%
  • Manganese: 1% max
  • Silicon: 1% max
  • Phosphorus: 0.040% max
  • Sulfur: 0.030% max

416 Stainless Steel

416 stainless steel is also a martensitic stainless steel, but with a slightly different composition that makes it more readily machinable. The primary difference is the addition of sulfur, which improves machinability but reduces corrosion resistance. The composition of 416 stainless steel is as follows:

  • Chromium: 12-14%
  • Carbon: 0.15% max
  • Manganese: 1.25% max
  • Silicon: 1% max
  • Phosphorus: 0.060% max
  • Sulfur: 0.15% min

Mechanical Properties

Both 410 and 416 stainless steels are known for their strength and hardness. However, there are some differences in their mechanical properties due to their distinct compositions.

Strength and Hardness

410 stainless steel has a higher carbon content than 416, which results in increased strength and hardness when heat-treated. The tensile strength of 410 stainless steel can reach up to 200 ksi (1379 MPa), while the hardness can range from Rockwell C 30-45, depending on the heat treatment process.

On the other hand, 416 stainless steel has a lower carbon content and higher sulfur content, which reduces its strength and hardness relative to 410. The tensile strength of 416 stainless steel typically ranges from 75-95 ksi (517-655 MPa), and the hardness is typically Rockwell C 25-32.


The higher carbon content in 410 stainless steel also results in lower ductility compared to 416. This can make 410 stainless steel more susceptible to cracking or brittle failure under certain conditions. On the other hand, 416 stainless steel, with its lower carbon content, offers improved ductility and is less prone to cracking.

Corrosion Resistance

Corrosion resistance is an important consideration when choosing a stainless steel grade. In this regard, 410 stainless steel generally outperforms 416 stainless steel.

410 stainless steel has a higher chromium content and lower sulfur content, which contributes to its better corrosion resistance. It can resist mild to moderate corrosion in a variety of environments, including atmospheric, chemical, and mildly corrosive environments.

In contrast, 416 stainless steel has a lower chromium content and higher sulfur content, which reduces its corrosion resistance. This makes it more susceptible to corrosion in certain environments, particularly when exposed to chlorides or other aggressive chemicals.


Machinability is a key factor when selecting a stainless steel grade for applications that require extensive machining. In this regard, 416 stainless steel is the clear winner.

The addition of sulfur in 416 stainless steel greatly improves its machinability compared to 410 stainless steel. This makes it easier to cut, shape, and finish, resulting in reduced tool wear and lower production costs. Consequently, 416 stainless steel is often selected for applications that require complex machining or tight tolerances.

Common Applications

The unique properties of 410 and 416 stainless steels make them suitable for different applications.

410 Stainless Steel Applications

  • Cutlery and kitchen utensils
  • Valve and pump parts
  • Fasteners, bolts, and screws
  • Steam and gas turbine components
  • Dental and surgical instruments

416 Stainless Steel Applications

  • Gears and shafts
  • Nuts and bolts
  • Screw machine parts
  • Valve components
  • Firearms, including barrels and slides


In conclusion, 410 and 416 stainless steels are both martensitic stainless steels with distinct compositions and properties. 410 stainless steel offers better strength, hardness, and corrosion resistance due to its higher carbon and chromium content. In contrast, 416 stainless steel is more readily machinable due to the addition of sulfur, but this comes at the expense of reduced corrosion resistance.

When selecting between these two grades, it is essential to consider the specific application requirements. 410 stainless steel is more suitable for applications that demand high strength, hardness, and corrosion resistance, such as cutlery, valve components, and fasteners. On the other hand, 416 stainless steel is better suited for projects that require extensive machining and tight tolerances, such as gears, shafts, and screw machine parts.

In summary, understanding the unique properties of 410 and 416 stainless steels will enable engineers and manufacturers to make informed decisions when selecting the appropriate grade for their applications.