52100 steel has a different naming structure as compared to other common 3-4-digit steels; this is mainly due to the difference between AISI and SAE naming indexes. In 52100 steel, the first digit represents that the primary alloy in this steel is chromium, the second digit shows that percentage of this alloy is greater than 1%.
It is commonly used to make knives.
Note that the second digit doesn’t provide exact details about chromium percentage; rather, the indication about percentage higher than other similar kinds of steels. The last three digits of 52100 steel show that around 1.00% carbon is used in the blend.
The essential elements added to form 52100 steel along with their percentages are:
Sulfur: <= 0.025 percent
Silicon: 0.15 to 03 percent
Phosphorus: <= 0.025 percent
Manganese: 0.25 to 0.45 percent
Chromium: 1.3 to 1.6 percent
Carbon: 0.98 to 1.1 percent
The 52100 steel is recognized as a high carbon chromium alloy steel that comes with an estimated density of 7.81 g/cm3. It is possible to harden this material using hot as well as cold working processes. It also responds better to the tempering and annealing process; furthermore, the material can be strengthened using heat treatment.
This material is rarely used for welding but it is pretty useful for the bearing, vehicle parts, and mill roll due to its higher hardness level, improved strength, and workability. The widely used form of 52100 steel is a bar stock; however, you can also find it in the form of wire, tube, flat-rolled as well as forging stocks as well.
52100 steel has 210 GPa modulus elasticity and it describes the material’s elastic stiffness. Higher elastic modulus defines stiffer material. Note that the less stiff materials are easier to gall up and gum up on the machine mills; however, the stiffer ones are likely to wear down machine bits, but they can machine better. 52100 steel is observed to respond better to the machining process and it can be ensured from its large elastic modulus values.
The shear modulus is another important representation that can be used to understand how the material can respond to stress. And bulk modulus is reserved for liquids.
The common applications of 52100 steel are defined on the basis of its hardness and toughness level. It can be used for designing steel bearings, cutlery, blades, fasteners, automotive parts, aircraft parts, dies, taps, punches, mill rolls, and anti-friction bearings.