Blog What Are Tool Steel Alloys?

By: Dave Olsen

Tool steel alloys are high carbon chrome steels containing differing amounts of molybdenum, cobalt and/or vanadium or other elements. Certain tool steels are engineered to withstand repeated high specific loads and impacts at ambient temperature with exceptional wear resistance – thus the name. Other materials in the family will exhibit stability at elevated temperatures and repeated high loads.

Tool steels are typically provided in an annealed condition which softens the very hard material so that it may be machined or formed for use. After machining, the material is heat treated again to increase toughness and strength.

There are several classes of tools steels available which will be selected based on the specific environment, particularly allowing for temperature. Among those are Cold-work, Hot-work, and High-speed. 

  • Cold-work tool steels feature strength, impact toughness and wear resistance. They are typically used in temperatures that do not exceed 400°F / 200°C.
  • Hot-work tool steels combine the strength, impact toughness and wear resistance with the ability to perform at higher temperature.
  • High-speed tool steels, likewise, deliver strength, impact toughness and wear resistance, and are able to retain those properties in environments of 1000°F / 540°C.

Common tool steel grades include: MTEK A2, MTEK A6, MTEK D2, and MTEK D5, and MTEK H13.

For guidance in selecting the appropriate tool steel alloy in your application, contact us.

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