Know Your Steel Types for Good Heat Treating in Gastonia, NC

If you want a good idea of how heat treating in Gastonia, NC can help you, it helps to know the types of steel. It usually depends on your industry and the final product for the steel once we are finished working with it. There are two types of steel, and they include material steel and tool steel. Here are their attributes and how heat treating affects them.

Material steel

Material steel is the most common steel that undergoes heat treating. Steel alloys with copper and titanium also require heat treating frequently, and they are considered material steel, too. This is the type of steel used most frequently for manufacturing applications.

The Society of Automotive Engineers and the American Iron and Steel Institute use a shared numbering system to categorize steel. Numbers indicate the amount of carbon and alloys missed during processing. A general category called “plain steels” describes material made from iron and carbon. “Alloys” are material that includes carbon, iron and one other metal. Carbon described in “points” indicates strength. These factors together produce four numbers that indicate the quality of the material steel.

The first two numbers indicate steel type, and the amount of carbon is signified by the last two. Common types (and their numbers) include plain carbon (10), nickel-moly (46), free cutting (11), chromium (52), nickel-chromium (31), chrome-vanadium, chromium-moly and nickel-chromium-moly (86). The higher the last two numbers, the better the steel will endure hardening. ASE 1040 steel is plain steel with 40 carbon points. It is the typical material for machine parts. Cutlery, knives and other high quality kitchen utensils are made from ASE 1095. This works for other types of steel, too. For example, a mid-range nickel-chromium is indicated as ASE 3140.

Tool steel

Material steel is more general purpose steel, but the tool steel is very specialized. It is used primarily for instruments and tools, much like its name implies. There is a general classification system, but also particular ones that reflect the purposes of the industry using the tool steel.

Classifying specifies how the tool steel was heat treated. Steels that were water-hardened are designated as “W.” Other classification numbers indicate a range. Chromium hot work designates as H11 to H16, depending on composition and tolerance. Other elements considered include moly hot work, shock resistance, tungsten high speed, moly high speed, oil hardening, air hardening, low alloy special and other specialized categories. You likely have industry standards that guide you to the best tool steels for your application.

Almost any tool steel can be improved through heat treatment. This is not true of material steel; anything with 20 carbon points or lower will not stand up to it and will simply breach. That is why any material steel within that range is normally set aside for wire, nails and general non-demanding use.

You have many options for creating the best steel for your parts, products and designs. For skilled heat treating in Gastonia, NC, please contact J. F. Heat Treating Inc. today.

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