Minerals, Metals, and Other Materials


What is high speed steel?

High speed steel is a general name for high alloy steels that retain their hardness at very high temperatures and are used for metal-cutting tools. All high speed steels are based on either tungsten or molybdenum (or both) as the primary heat-resisting alloying element. These steels require a special heat so that their unique properties can be fully realized. The manufacturing process consists of heating the steel to a temperature of 2,150°F to 2,400°F (1,175°C to 1,315°C) to obtain solution of a substantial percentage of the alloy carbides, quenching to room temperature, tempering at 1,000°F to 1,150°F (535°C to 620°C), and again cooling to room temperature.


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