Pharmacy Courses

Pharmaceutical Grade Stainless Steel

Pharmaceutical companies must have pharmaceutical-grade stainless steel manufacturing equipment that passes the FDA’s rigorous standards.

Stainless Steel Uses in Pharmaceutical Industry

Austenitic stainless-steel series (e.g., 304, 304 L, 316 and 316L) has been popular in pharmaceutical applications because of its high stain and outstanding corrosion resistant properties and affordability.

“L” indication in SS grades

L indicates low content of carbon. SS 304L and 316L has low amount of carbon (0.03%) in the compression of SS304 and 316 grade (0.08%).

Grade 304 & 304L have only difference of low carbon content in its chemical composition, same as in SS 316 and 316L grade. Rest chemical composition are same in both of grade. Low carbon content grade SS is more corrosion resistant than others, low carbon content also makes more ease to weld the SS.

Difference between SS 304 (304L) & SS 316 (316L)

  • Grade 316, 316L is used in all ‘product contact applications’ and 304 used in ‘non contact applications’. However, there are some instances where the product is not suitable to stainless steel and qualified guidance is advised.
  • Both type of Stainless steel are non magnetic, easily welded and formed.
  • 316L grade Stainless Steel is often specified in Pharmaceutical installations in order to prevent excessive metallic contamination. 316L grade Stainless Steel is also significantly more resistant to heat in comparison to 304.
  • 304 contains no trace of molybdenum, 316 contains 2% molybdenum. The biggest difference between the grades is molybdenum is added to grade 316 to increase corrosion and pitting resistance. 

Percentage Composition of Stainless Steel

The addition of Molybdenum makes 316L Stainless Steel stronger and more durable, capable of withstanding higher levels of corrosion and the affects of chemicals such as chlorides (found in salt, seawater, sweat, etc.) and sulphuric acid.

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Resource Person: Rizwan Naqvi

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