Anyone who works in the medical field knows tools are important. The tools may be the difference between life or death in the emergency room. Or you may be a chef or a diner at a restaurant. Cutlery and kitchen knives are essential to eating and making food.
You might also be a craftsman with metal. And to achieve complicated shapes, you need sophisticated tools. That’s where 440A steel comes in.
The 440 series have qualities that make it ideal in wet environments. But that’s not all. It’s also ideal for the hunting grounds like the RUKO RUK0118 Multi-blade hunting knife.
- 1 What is 440A Steel?
- 2 Common Uses of 440a Steel
- 3 440A Steel Chemical Composition
- 4 440a Steel hardness
- 5 Properties of 440A Steel
- 6 440A Equivalent Steels or Alternatives
- 7 Is 440A Still Good for Knives?
- 8 Pros and Cons of 440A Steel
- 9 Best 440A Steel Knives
- 10 Conclusion
What is 440A Steel?
440A steel is one of the several alloys in the 400 series. It’s the cheapest 440 alloy, followed by 440B and 440C. The whole 400 series specialize in tools that can work in wet environments. They’re resistant to corrosion and they’re very cheap to make.
The whole 400 series is magnetic. This is an advantage for people who work with electronics. They can use tools that lift screws. They can also cut delicate wiring with precision scissors. (If such a thing did exist.)
These make it seem like 440A is ideal for small work. It’s not. Manufacturing equipment can also be from 440A steel.
Common Uses of 440a Steel
As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, 440A steel is ideal for small craft. They can turn into an assortment of tools like the following:
- Cutlery – kitchen knives, spoons, forks
- Dental instruments – dental probes, mouth mirrors, scalers
- Surgical instruments – surgical blades, forceps, speculums
- Hair grooming products like razor blades and shaving components
440A Steel Chemical Composition
Each manufacturer will have differences in the composition for 440A. The metals that typically comprise 440A are the following:
- Carbon, 0.60%
- Chromium, 16.0%
- Manganese, 1.0%
- Molybdenum, 0.75%
- Phosphorus, 0.040%
- Silicon, 1.00%
- Sulfur, 0.03%
Carbon, 0.60%: Among the 440 series, 440a has the lowest carbon content. This is just enough carbon so that you get a type of hard steel, but it’s not too hard. Keep in mind that hardness is often inversely proportional to toughness. That’s to say, if the steel is too hard then it’s more likely to chip off.
Chromium, 16.0%: The amount of chromium here ensures that you have stainless steel that works great in wet settings, as you get excellent corrosion resistance. Most stainless steels will have a small amount of 14% for chromium.
Manganese, 1.0%: Like Carbon, manganese adds to the hardness of the steel. It also boosts the tensile strength and hardenability of the steel.
Magnesium’s role is to enhance the mechanical properties of steel. One of the most common ways to achieve this is to include it in a blast furnace. The magnesium particles will react with sulfur and oxygen. This will affect how heat applies to the steel, then affecting its properties.
Molybdenum, 0.75%: This is often used with manganese, as it helps in boosting creep strength, strength in elevated temperatures, and hardenability. In stainless steel, it even improves the corrosion resistance further.
Phosphorus, 0.040%: There’s not much here, because too much phosphorus can lead to brittle steel. But this tiny amount still helps with boosting machinability and tensile strength.
Silicon, 1.00%: This adds to the strength of the steel.
Sulfur, 0.03%: Another purpose of putting in manganese in the steel is to remove sulfur deposits that are present in the steel. The presence of too much sulfur will affect the forging process, reducing ductility that leads to cracking issues. But with this tiny amount, you get enhanced machinability.
440a Steel hardness
The 440A steel has a hardness of 57 HRC. For comparison, the other 440 series have higher hardness scores. For the 440B, it scores 58 or 59 HRC. This hardness maxes out at 149 degree Celsius. For 440C, the most is 60 HRC. The 440C has the highest carbon. Higher carbon would mean higher hardenability.
Properties of 440A Steel
The chemical makeup of 440A affects the properties of the alloy. Most stainless steel has five qualities. These are toughness, hardness, resistance to corrosion, and edge retention.
The 440A alloy has a very high hardness. The 440A alloy has a score of 57. This makes it very ideal for equipment that does not chip. This is very useful for surgical and dental equipment. We don’t want our patients to swallow metal, do we?
440A is tough. Sure, it’s not as tough as other steels. It still can withstand a fair amount of stress, though. Most tools made with 440A don’t require a lot of stress exerted on them. There’s no need to increase toughness on a spoon.
High Corrosion Resistance
Resistance to corrosion is where the 440A shines best. Among the siblings, the 440A has the lowest amount of carbon. Acids react fast to carbon. 440A is the perfect alloy for medical tools. Body fluids are too good at digesting everything.
Easy to Sharpen
Edge retention for the 440A is, at most, decent. Because the 400 series are carbon alloys, they’re considered “soft steel.” The 440A owes its sharpness to its ease of whetting. 440A knife users do not need diamond-level abrasives.
Wear resistance is also tied with edge retention. Carbon alloys will wear easier than high chromium alloys. The bigger carbon inclusions in 440A will allow a knife edge to resist wear.
440A Equivalent Steels or Alternatives
440A vs 440C Steel
Both alloys from the 440 series have carbon. The only difference is that 440A has a lower carbon content. With this, 440A can resist corrosion way better than 440C. 440C on the other hand achieves higher hardness. It also has better edge retention, and is tougher. Since both of them have high hardness, they are prone to chipping.
Both of them require high machinability. The 440A is slightly easier to manufacture than 440C.
440A vs 420HC Steel
Both alloys are still from the 400 series for stainless steels. 420HC has lower carbon despite HC meaning “high carbon.” This means 420HC is more resistant to corrosion. It can deform without breaking. 440A will break when enough rests on it.
440A will have better edge retention. It also has higher resistance to wear. You could slice ropes for days on end and it will still cut just fine. 420HC will not achieve the same.
440A vs 8Cr13MoV Steel
The 8Cr13MoV is similar to AUS8. It has a higher carbon content. This means that 440A will resist corrosion better since it has a lower amount of carbon. The 440A has higher hardness and has an increased risk for chipping. The higher chromium on the 440A means it will have a more polished look than the 8Cr13MoV.
The additional vanadium on the 8Cr13MoV will help increase toughness. This means 8Cr13MoV will resist deformation better than 440A.
440A vs 154CM Steel
154CM is an alloy manufactured using powder metallurgy. PM alloys usually have higher toughness due to equal distribution of properties. The 154CM alloy has higher carbon than 440A. This means it’s less resistant to corrosion. Since 440A forms carbides unevenly, it has better edge retention.
Knives made from 440A will not wear out easily. The advantage of PM alloys is that they’re easy to sharpen. This makes the 154CM easier to sharpen than 440A. Since 440A doesn’t require PM, it’s also cheaper to manufacture.
Is 440A Still Good for Knives?
The 440A is good for knives. It’s a cheaper alternative than most of the steel listed here. This 440A steel review aims to show why it’s good. The 440A doesn’t need PM manufacturing. It’s also more resistant to corrosion. For anyone who already owns 440C or 154CM steels, 440A is a good alternative.
The highlight of 440A is its corrosion resistance. It’s good for knives in the kitchen. They don’t score much on toughness so light blade work is its expertise. People with gentle hands but require extreme control can count on 440A. Any surgical or dental tools will not break.
Pros and Cons of 440A Steel
Best 440A Steel Knives
Now that we know what makes 440A good for steel knives, let’s look at some products on the market.
#1: MIKI Sharp 440A Stainless Steel Blade Knife
- Blade Length: 4.8 Inch
- Total Length: 10.5 Inch
- Handle Length: 5.5Inch
- Blade Thickness: 2.5 mm
- Blade Width: 2.8 cm
- Net Weight: 170g
- Handle: Black G10
The MIKI Sharp 440A has a total length of 10.5 inches. It weighs 170g. It’s a folding knife with a liner lock mechanism to keep your fingers safe. The ingredient used for the handle is G10. It’s a glass-based material that resists oils. It’s like fiberglass but is tougher.
The MIKI Sharp 440A works well outdoors. It folds to a length of 5.5 inches, no larger than a person’s hand. The MIKI Sharp has a thickness of 2.5 mm. The ample blade thickness ensures it will not break. The MIKI Sharp also comes in several options.
This knife is useful for chefs. Adventurous outdoor persons, or just the usual knife collector can enjoy this too. You can choose from a chef blade, drop point, or small drop point. The chef blade should cut meat, vegetables, or any other food items with ease.
#2: Boker 01LG318 Rainbow Mermaid Folding Knife
- Type: Pocket Knife
- Blade Thickness: 0,13 in
- Weight: 6,35 oz (180 gram)
- Opener: Flipper
- Opening: Manual
- Lock Type: Linerlock
- Color: Multicolored
- Blade Color: Multicolored
- Made in: Asia
The Rainbow Mermaid gets its inspiration from the ocean. A beautiful mermaid lines the spine of the blade. The metal cutout looks like fins on the handle and pommel. Boker also adds a scale-y rainbow color theme, imitating the iridescence of fish.
01LG318 has a total length of a little over 8 inches. The Rainbow Mermaid folds into a neat 5” and weighs 180 grams. It’s 10 grams heavier than the MIKI Sharp 440A. We can tell the extra weight comes from the all-metal handle.
Blade length is about 3 inches. It’s a drop point type blade which can be useful for prying open shells. This knife is ideal for people who take trips to the sea. It can also be a good collection for knife enthusiasts. This knife is a work of art and deserves appreciation for its craftsmanship.
#3: RUKO RUK0118 Folding Multi-blade Hunting Knife
- Blades Length: 3.5″
- Closed Length: 4.5″
- Overall Length: 8″
- Warranty: Lifetime
This multi-blade hunting knife has three blades for different functions. The handle has a unique camo design. The rubberized aluminum handle should provide a good grip experience. This knife comes with a free pouch.
The knife measures around 4.5” when folded. The blades measure 3.5” each. Thumb studs on the blade spine makes it easy to flip open. Blades are in place and secured with a triple lock-liner setup. The RUKO has one regular drop point blade. The other is a saw and the third one is a gut-hook blade. All three have holes designed to control the return flip.
Hunters will appreciate the multi-functionality of this knife. They will be able to use the regular blade for cutting. The saw knife is useful for hacking ropes or vines. The gut hook is good for opening the very tough and slimy innards of deer and similar game.
The 440A is a cheap and great material. It’s resistant to corrosion. This alloy keeps an edge better than carbon alloys. It doesn’t chip despite the hardness. The steel is easy to manufacture making it have a lower price. It has decent toughness so it can survive everyday use.
And the moment you’ve been waiting for. This is the winner on the list for The Top 440A Steel Knives review. The RUKO RUK0118 Folding Multi-blade Hunting Knife. Hands down, it offers the best functionality. It’s a little heavy but that’s not a massive takeaway for a cheap product.
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