In this post, we would like to discuss the elements that make up tool & high speed steels. What do these elements do to provide the mechanical and physical properties we need for our applications? The most common elements are the following:

CARBON (C): this is the most basic alloying element which enables steel to harden. Carbon combines with the other elements to form hard, wear-resistant carbides.

MANGANESE (Mn): controls hardenability in alloy cold work steels.

SILICON (Si): improves toughness in the shock resisting steels group. Added to hot work steels to raise critical points and reduce scaling tendencies. Added to O-6 & A-10 to form graphite.

CHROMIUM (Cr): controls hardenability and is added for abrasion resistance and hot hardness.

TUNGSTEN (W): provides red hardness and hard wear resistant carbides that are harder than chrome and iron carbides. Also used to improve hardenability in tool & high speed steels. Combines very well with molybdenum and vanadium.

MOLYBDENUM (Mo): molybdenum has double the potency of tungsten to provide red hardness resistance. Added to steels to improve hardenability.

VANADIUM (V): provides red hardness resistance. Vanadium carbides are harder than and more abrasion resistant than other carbides. Contributes to grain refinement when added in small quantities. Combines very well with other carbides.

COBALT (Co): greatly improves red hardness. Cobalt does not combine with other carbides as it does not form carbides and remains in solid solution.

At Hudson, our goal is to “Make Tool Steel Easy”. We hope the discussion in future posts will help you gain a better understanding of materials and processing through asking the right questions. Have a question for us?┬áCall us at 800-996-0411 or send an inquiry through our “Have a Question?” form. We look forward to helping you with any of your tool steel questions.