O1 Tool Steel
O1-Tool-Steel is an electric-furnace melted, oil-hardened, non-shrinking, general-purpose tool steel. It is chemically composed of approximately 97.1% Iron, 0.90% Carbon, 0.50% Chromium, 1.00% Manganese and 0.50% Tungsten. O1-Tool-Steel’s hardening temperature is between 788C and 816C, and tempering temperature is between 177C and 228C.
Properties of O1-Tool-Steel
O1-Tool-Steel is not easily abrased, has high surface hardness post tempering, does not deform during hardening and can be machined well. Further, it also has a low hardening temperature (and can therefore be heat treated in homes and shops as well), and does not loose shape during quenching either. Additionally, it is also cheap and readily available. It is therefore regarded as a suitable material for making tools and knives, as it can be easily sharpened and the edge also becomes blunt much less quickly than other steels.
Strength and Hardness
Strength of a metal determines the extent to which it may deform when load is applied on it. This strength can be measured on various parameters such as the maximum ability to take strain, resistance to wear and tear, impact handling or how the material performs when subjected to frequently changing load conditions. Strength generally increases with an increase in the Carbon content, as well as Manganese. Given the high percentage of both these, O1-Tool-Steel has high strength and is therefore used for making tools and other sharp-edged instruments. Hardness of a material indicates its resistance to get indented that is not temporary (i.e.; it persists even after the load conditions are removed, as opposed to the strength that is an indication of its performance only when the load is applied), and Carbon is also the primary hardening element in steel. The Rockwell method measures the hardness of O1-Tool-Steel to be in the range of 64 to 58 RC (this is the most commonly used measurement technique).
Toughness and Brittleness
Toughness of a material determines whether it can be subjected to shock conditions, and the extent to which it may undergo deformity in shape but still not snap. If subjected to a proper treatment process, O1-Tool-Steel tends to be very tough. As opposed to toughness, brittleness measures whether a material will snap instead of getting deformed, when load is applied. Alloy steels like O1-Tool-Steel are less brittle than cast or pig iron because of presence of Magnesium.
Ductility and Malleability
Ductility is a material’s ability to be drawn into wires without breaking. Ductility and weldability decrease with increasing carbon and since O1-Tool-Steel has a very high carbon content, it is not very ductile. On the other hand, malleability determines a material’s ability to be rolled into sheets without getting ruptured. Since O1-Tool-Steel has little or no residual elements like copper, nickel or molybdenum, it is quite malleable and can be worked upon even at low room temperatures.