What is 1055 Carbon Steel?

1055 is one of the top-rated carbon steels that offers optimum combination in terms of toughness and durability. This version of steel is better known for high edge retention and overall strength as compared to other stainless-steel knives.

Note that 1055 carbon steel doesn’t fall in the range of high carbon steel; this is the main reason why it is known for the enhanced impact resistance and lower brittleness. Plain carbon steel is observed to have lower casting temperature as well as lower cost of heat treatment. Therefore, it is widely recommended for budget applications.

Properties of 1055 Carbon Steel:

  • Forging

Plain carbon steel offers excellent performance to forging and the condition is the same for plain carbon steel as well. Steelmakers use the forging process on steel while keeping the temperature between 925 to 1205 degrees C. This process helps to enhance mechanical properties and also leads to high-stress development within steel material. This is the main reason this steel is shifted to an annealing furnace immediately after forging.

  • Heat Treatment

1055 steel is plain carbon steel with American grade; its carbon content ranges between 0.55 to 0.6 percent. This grade generally comes with the hypo eutectoid steel region that contains ferritic matrix along with Pearlitic grains under the equilibrium cooling conditions.

Annealing process on 1055 Carbon Steel:

Steelmakers prefer using the annealing process right after foraging to take away the stress from the material before following any other treatment. The full annealing process generally involves the steel heating to the austenite region so that it can achieve a uniform gamma phase.

For 1055 Carbon Steel, the full annealing treatment is completed at a temperature of 790 to 870 degrees C and then it is soaked to achieve a uniform structure. Right after soaking, the material is cooled at an estimated temperature of 650-degree C.


Here is an important heat treatment process that is generally carried out to refine microstructure as well as to relieve material stress internally. Normally carbon steel normalization is carried out right before the tempering and hardening process. The process involves heating 1055 Carbon Steel at 900 degrees C temperature while holding it further for homogenization and air cooling.


The hardening process is mainly a fast-cooling method that ensures the conservation of pearlite and ferrite into retained and martensite austenite. The results of the hardening process generally depend upon quenching media and heating temperature. For the 1055 carbon steel hardening treatment, it is better to keep the temperature above the A3 line.

For smaller casting, water quenching is the preferred method; however, for large castings, it is better to go ahead with oil quenching as it helps to avoid cracks after the heat treatment.


The martensite development in the structure leads to large thermal stresses in the material while retaining the formation of austenite. No quenching process is capable enough to remove retained austenite completely. Therefore, the tempering process is followed to convert retained martensite and austenite into carbides.

Carbon Steel used for Knife making:
ATS 34

Stainless steels used for knives: