The needs of customers are always in the minds of steel manufacturers. In the steel industry, innovation is the key to stay competitive and be on top of the market. If you’re shopping for tools to add in your backyard shed, you want your purchases to last for a long time.
Good thing Crucible Industries addresses that specific need and invented Cru-Wear Steel. Let’s learn more about it in this Cru-Wear steel review.
What is CRUWEAR Steel?
CRU-WEAR steel by Crucible Industries is an air-quenched carbon alloy made for tools. The air-quenching process will provide an increased toughness and wear resistance. It’s a good alloy for assembly line equipment.
Common assembly tools are coining, laminating dies, blanking dies, and thread rolling dies. Repeated use will not affect (if not, then, a small amount) equipment and will function as intended.
If you’re a knife maker, looking for the perfect steel is frustrating. The good thing is, Cru-Wear steel’s properties are something impressive. It exceeds D2’s wear resistance and retains edges in steel knives. It’s also at par with M2 high-speed steels’ heat resistance and toughness.
Common Uses of CRU-WEAR steel
The high wear resistance and toughness of Cru-Wear is best used for:
- Manufacturing companies that use shearing blades. (Most of these companies will use them on a constant basis. Companies which produce metal, fabrics and plastics, or any material woven into sheets.)
- Component of handheld wood planes used to smooth out woodwork.
- Since it maintains hardness even in high-temperatures, Cru-Wear is good for drill bits.
CRU-WEAR Steel Chemical Composition
You can find out more about what makes a particular steel alloy tick by checking out its individual elements and specific percentages of each component.
- Carbon – 1.10%
- Chromium – 7.25%
- Molybdenum – 1.60%
- Tungsten – 1.15%
- Vanadium – 2.40%
- Silicon – 1.20%
- Sulfur – 0.003%
Carbon: 1.10%: The carbon here is what makes Cru-Wear a type of carbon steel. The carbon determines much of its hardness, and you have a lot of carbon in this steel. Many carbon steels don’t go over 1% carbon.
Chromium: 7.25%: You need at least 12% chromium to get stainless steel, and this sure fall short of that requirement. But that’s still quite a lot of chromium that leads to corrosion resistance. The chromium also boosts the yield strength and hardenability of the steel.
Molybdenum: 1.60%. Molybdenum is usually present in steel alloys, but generally, they’re in amounts of less than 1%. But you also get more molybdenum than usual here, which means you get more of the side benefits. You get increased hardenability, greater temperature strength, enhanced creep strength, and also improved corrosion resistance.
Tungsten: 1.15%. The tungsten works with molybdenum and chromium to make “high speed” steel in cutting tools. That means you can use it with higher temperatures without reducing its hardness.
Vanadium: 2.40%. The vanadium has similar effects that you also get from carbon, molybdenum, and manganese. It boosts hardenability and fracture toughness, while it also improves the steel’s resistance to shock loading.
Silicon: 1.20%. When dissolved in iron, silicon strengthens the resulting steel. That means it increases the hardness of the steel.
Sulfur: 0.003%. You only have three-thousandths of a percent here, and that’s because sulfur is generally seen as an impurity. Too much of it reduces the impact toughness of the steel. But the amount here is just tiny enough to avoid that issue, while it still helps with the steel’s machinability.
CRU-WEAR Steel Hardness
Each individual metal component in the Cru-Wear contributes to its hardness. The addition of the molybdenum acts as a retardant in secondary tempering. The initial HRC score for Cru-Wear is 61-63 at a heat treat of 1010 degrees Celsius. At 2050 degrees Celsius, the HRC reaches 63-65, beating the D2’s max hardness at 62-64 HRC.
Properties of CRUWEAR Steel
There are 4 significant properties to any tool steel alloys. These are toughness, wear resistance, hardness, and heat resistance.
Cru-Wear steel is industry-level tough. It should withstand high pressures without breaking. According to data sheets, the Cru-wear “has greater toughness” than conventional steel. Cru-wear uses crucible powder metallurgy allowing for an even distribution in the toughness. The air hardening ensures carbide grain size decreases until the next heat treatment. Watch this guy hammer the spine of a Cru-Wear knife.
Terrific Wear Resistance
The resulting finer grain size allows Cru-Wear knives to be sharp. It also means it can resist dullness that can arise from repeated use. Cru-Wear-based blades or drill bits can then cut or bore as easy as an M2 high-speed steel. Knife-makers or drill bit manufacturers will not have to worry about faulty parts. Returns due to defects will be less likely to happen. This video shows the edge retention and wear resistance of a Cru-Wear knife.
Most alloys sacrifice toughness for increased hardness. The Cru-Ware’s manufacturing process using CPM allows for smaller carbide grains. Carbides affect hardness and this is true for any alloy. The relationship between increased carbon and high hardness is proportional. Crucible’s CPM technology makes sure carbide clumping does not occur, if possible. This is important because carbide clumping deforms the hardness distribution. Larger carbide clumps will allow for cracks to form when enough force is present.
We mentioned the role of each chemical composition for Cru-Wear steel. Both cobalt and tungsten increase the alloy’s heat resistance. This is an important factor in tool steels. Since most applications for Cru-Wear are industrial in nature, it’s not exempted. Take drill bits for instance. If the alloy composing the drill bit does not have any form of heat resistance, it will melt. Pressure and heat increase as the drill bit is being spun. Add to that the equal pressure the concrete exerts on the drill bit.
Cru-Wear Equivalent Steels or Alternative
Now that we know how Cru-Wear works and what areas it shines best, let’s pit its specs with other alloys.
Cru-Wear vs Elmax Steel
Elmax Superclean has a hardness of 60 HRC versus the Cru-Wear with a max hardness of 64 HRC. You can rely on the Cru-Wear to keep its edge longer.
For example, in industrial use, shearing blades will need less replacing. The heat resistance is almost always associated with the hardness of a steel tool.
This means the Cru-Wear is better suited in mass production equipment. Due to the higher chromium content on Elmax, it resists corrosion better than Cru-Wear. Elmax in this regard will work better in contact with corrosives. The tradeoff for corrosion resistance makes the Elmax less tough.
Cru-Wear vs M4 Steel
Both Cru-Wear and M4 have hardness values between 63-65 HRC. As blades, they will resist deformation and bending. Toughness for M4 is higher and will beat the Cru-Wear in an impact test.
The Cru-Wear’s natural hardness will make it brittle. Cru-Wear is also more resistant to rust and corrosion due to the higher amount of chromium. The carbon in M4 provides extra resistance to corrosives. most of the carbon and vanadium in M4 will form carbides, despite having higher carbon.
Cru-Wear vs S30V Steel
Anyone who has worked with S30V steel will know that this is a premium grade stainless steel. It will have a higher chromium concentration than Cru-Wear. S30V’s chromium makes it more resistant to rust and corrosion than Cru-Wear.
The S30V steel outperforms Cru-Wear in hardness and edge retention. It also beats it at wear resistance, and corrosion, with the exception in toughness.
Although the S30V retains its sharpness longer, it’s easier to sharpen the Cru-Wear. It’s possible to chip the S30V alloy. Due to its natural hardness, the force required to chip S30V is considerable. The Cru-Wear can withstand at least 300,000 psi in the said test.
Is Cru-Wear Steel good for knives?
Yes, if the knife you’re looking to make or use is worth its lifetime. The Cru-Wear steel for a knife is a cheap and ideal choice of industrial equipment-grade alloy. Excellent toughness – you can try breaking this metal under your boots and it will not break.
The Cru-Wear is very easy to sharpen, allowing for instant reuse. Using only low-grade abrasives, the Cru-Wear can look new. It should function sharp like the first time you bought it.
It can keep edges, although one should be careful to prevent the blades from chipping. Attempting to cut harder materials will wear and dull the edge of a Cru-Wear blade.
Pros and Cons of CRU-WEAR
The Cru-Wear is an easy material to work with and has a variety of industrial applications. It has excellent toughness, machinability, and heat resistance. This makes it ideal for long-term, repetitive use. It’s a good material for knives and can cut anything as well as a stainless-steel knife.
Although there are better materials for knife-making, this steel’s properties are versatile. It’s also balanced. This is why it’s popular. On or off the assembly line.
If you liked this article, you may want to check out a premium-range stainless steel. It’s also a cheaper alternative than ultra-premium custom knives. Comment below if you have additional information about Cru-Wear steel.