If you have researched the best knife steels on the market today, you have probably stumbled upon the 5160 steel recipe once or twice.
It is one of the leading materials used for knives all over the world and in this 5160 steel review we are going to take a closer look at it.
We will check the chemical composition and qualities of this steel along with answering the question: is this a good knife steel?
Read on to learn more.
What is 5160 steel?
5160 steel is a low-end alloy that is high in carbon with a reasonable amount of chromium.
It is a very hard and hard material that is ideal for swords, knives and car parts.
Its name represents the chemical composition of the material with “1” standing for carbon, which is the most important element in the alloy.
“60”, on the other hand, represents the amount of carbon in the mixture, which is 0.64%.
This material has its original shape after bending, which is why it is very popular as a knife or sword material.
Chemical composition of 5160 steel
1. Carbon – 0.64%
As mentioned earlier, this alloy has a lot of carbon.
Carbon is known to make the material very hard, which is one of the most important properties of this steel.
It also improves wear and corrosion resistance, but it reduces the strength a bit because it is so hard.
2. Manganese – 1.%
This is an element that makes the 5160 much harder, but too much of it can make it go crazy.
Chromium – 0.9%
Chromium is mainly used in steel for tensile strength, corrosion resistance and edge retention.
This is not present in 5160 recipes, but there is enough in there to make a little difference.
4. Silicon – 0.3%
Silicon helps improve the strength of the alloy.
5. Sulfur – 0.04%
One of the most important qualities of any alloy is its workability, and sulfur makes the material more workable.
Phosphorus – 0.035%
Finally, this mixture has phosphorus in it to make it stronger and harder.
Grades of 5160 steel
One of the best qualities of this affordable steel is its edge retention.
It does not have the same qualities as carbon steel, but it is still much better than the materials you will find in this range.
This is mainly due to the amount of carbon in the alloy.
The maximum hardness of 5160 is 60.
This is called the HRC or Rockwell hardness of the material, and it will usually average around 57-58.
This is not the best out there, but it is very hard, which is one of the reasons why this alloy has such high edge retention and is in demand by many manufacturers.
Abrasion and corrosion resistance
As mentioned earlier, this material has a fair amount of carbon, chromium and magnesium in the recipe.
This provides great abrasion resistance so it does not get damaged too easily when in use.
However, since it has only 0.9% chromium (which is a fairly low presence compared to other materials), it does not resist corrosion as well.
So if you have been considering getting a tool with 5160 steel, be sure to take care of it properly so that it does not rust.
This is not an ideal material for machining.
This is because it is very hard, which makes machining very difficult to perform.
But if you want to process this material, you will need to get it annealed so you can get the job done faster and easier.
In itself it is not the best material for machining, but after annealing you can easily reach maximum speeds and feed rates.
Due to its chemical composition, this material does not have much weldability.
So if you are planning to weld this material, you may encounter a few issues and some issues.
6. Heat treatment
This material is usually cured in hot oil.
For extinguishing, it is recommended to use a temperature of 1525 F and the ideal tempering temperature is around 800 F-1300 F.
The forging temperature of 5160 is around 2100 F-2200 F, which is very important to remember if you plan to use this material in your workshop.
Since it is such a hard material, grinding this alloy is a very hard task.
After all, the harder steel is, the harder it is to sharpen.
Once you finish the original sanding, you do not have to restore it for some time due to the large edge retention that the 5160 has.
Conclusion – is this a good knife steel?
In general, 5160 is considered good knife steel.
This is because it is very hard and has great edge retention, making it ideal for large knives and swords.
It is also very hard with great durability.
However, the one disadvantage of this material is that it does not have high corrosion resistance.
So if you buy a knife with this material or plan to use it in your workshop, remember to keep it clean, safe and well maintained to avoid rust problems.
But other than that, you will find that this is a very good material for knives and will serve you well for many years!
Last updated on February 19, 2021 by Andy Wang