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Introduction to Metallurgy...a Metallurgical Tutorial

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Tool Steels

Tool steel diesThese are steels that must be suitable for cutting materials including other steels and forming other steels with dies and making hammers of all kinds. Tool steels are known to have 0.6% Carbon and around 0.25% Silicon with 0.25% Manganese.

Lets review what we learned from Alloy Steels since tool steels fits into this category:

These are cutting tools, forming dies, and shearing tools; they can be hardened and will have a high carbon content. Tools like chisels can have carbon (C) content up to 1.10% and razor blades has high as 1.40% C. Tools will have different chemical composition for low speed tooling (including pneumatic powered) and high speed tools where abrasion is important.

There are five categories of tool steels and these are:

  1. Carbon Tool Steels - Case hardening type and are effective when the tool will not be used over a temperature of 500F.

  2. Forging is used to make tools and diesAlloy Tool Steels - These tools are chisels, punches, shears, rivet tools and are considered to be moderately alloyed to achieve this purpose.

  3. High Carbon, Chromium and Air Hardened Die Steels - great wear resistance tools.

  4. Hot Work Steels - This category is forging, hot drawing, extrusion and die casting.  These remain hard at relatively high temperatures.

  5. High Speed Steels - These are tools that remain hardened even when red-hot.  These have hard carbides in the microstructure of the tool.


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