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Grade Introduction:
Molybdenum high-speed steels are designated as Group M steels according to the AISI classification system. Over 95% of high-speed steels manufactured in the US are group M steels. Tungsten is present in all types from M1 to M10, except M6, and cobalt is not present in any of these steels. Molybdenum high-speed steels have similar performance when compared to tungsten high-speed steels. However, the initial cost of molybdenum tool steels is lower. Titanium nitride, titanium carbide, and several other coatings can be used in the tools made of this kind of steel through a physical vapor deposition process to improve the performance and life span of the tool.
Grade Application:
The main use of high-speed steel continues to be in the manufacture of various cutting tools.
Typical applications for M2 high-speed steel are twist drills, reamers, broaching tools, taps, milling tools, metal saws. M2 is suitable for cold forming tools such as extrusion rams and dies, also widely used in all kinds of cutting tools, knife, and punches and die applications, plastic molds with elevated wear resistance, and screws.
Equivalent grades:
Country USA German Japan
Standard ASTM A600 DIN EN ISO 4957 JIS G4403
Grades M2 1.3343 SKH51
Addition to other grades:
MS, EN1A, EN3B, EN8, EN8D, EN9, EN19, EN24, EN31, EN32B, EN36C, EN41B, EN43B, EN47, EN353, IS2062, 42Crmo4, HCHCR, OHNS, D2, D3, H-11, H-13, CW-1, M35, M42, 2714, SKD-11, P20, P20+S, P20+Ni, SCM 420, ASTM SA-36, ASTM SA-105, SAE 1018, SAE 1020, SAE 4140, SAE 8620, 16MNCR5, 20MNCR5, C20, C35, C40, C45, C50, C60, CK45, 20C8, 40C8, 45C8, 55C8, C55MN75, SAE 52100, S40C, S355J2G3.
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Chemical composition:
The following table shows the chemical composition of M2 steel:
Element C Si Mn P S Cr Mo Ni V Cu
Content (%) 0.78-1.05 0.20-0.45  0.15-0.40 0.03 0.03        0.2-0.45 4.5-5.5  0.3 1.75-2.2  0.25 5.50-6.75
Mechanical Properties:
Properties Metric Imperial
Hardness, Rockwell C (tempered at 1150°F, quenched at 2200°F) 62 62
Hardness, Rockwell C (as hardened, quenched at 2200°F) 65 65
Compressive yield strength (when tempered at 300°F) 3250 MPa 471000 psi
Izod impact unnotched (when tempered at 300°F) 67 J 49.4 ft-lb
Abrasion (loss in mm3, as-hardened; ASTM G65) 25.8 25.8
Abrasion (loss in mm3, tempered at 1275°F; ASTM G65) 77.7 77.7
Poisson’s ratio 0.27-0.30 0.27-0.30
Elastic modulus 190-210 GPa 27557-30458 ksi
Heat treatment:
M2 tool steels are pre-heated prior to hardening at 2610°C (4730°F) followed by rapid heating from 2610°C (4730°F) to 3960°C (7160°F). These steels are then cooled for 3 to 5 min and quenched in air, salt bath, or oil.
Preheat the M2 in two steps; 450 – 500°C then 850 – 900°C. Then continue heating to the final hardening temperature of 1200 – 1250°C. Do not leave the steel too long at the hardening temperature. Quench in warm oil or brine to about 500°C then air cool down to room temperature.
Heat the M2 to the required tempering temperature, hold at a temperature for at least two hours or one hour per 25 mm of thickness. Double tempering is recommended.
Tempering °C 500 550 600 650
HRC 64 65 64 61
Physical Properties:
The physical properties of M2 molybdenum high-speed tool steel are given in the following table.
Physical properties Metric Imperial
Density 8.16 g/cm3 0.294 lb/in3
Melting point 4680°C 2600°F
Thermal Properties:
The following table shows the thermal properties of M2 molybdenum high speed tool steels.
Thermal properties Metric Imperial
CTE, linear (@20.0 – 100°C/ 68.0 – 212°F) 10 μm/m°C 5.56 μin/in°F
CTE, linear (@20.0 – 500°C/68.0 – 932°F) 12.2 μm/m°C 6.78 μin/in°F
CTE, linear (@20.0 – 850°C/68.0 – 1560°F) 12.6 μm/m°C 7 μin/in°F
Forging Properties:
Pre heat M2 HSS steel slowly and uniformly to 850-900°C. The heat should then be increased more quickly to the forging temperature of 1050-1150°C. If during the forging the temperature of the M2 high-speed tool steel material drops below 880-900°C, re-heating will be necessary. Cool the M2 steel component very slowly after forging.
Stress Relieving:
Stress-relieving M2 is recommended after machining or grinding and before hardening to minimize the chance of distortion. Heat the component to 600 – 700°C and soak well (for approximately two hours), then cool in air.
Do Not Normalize.
M2 tool steels are annealed at 1204°C (2200°F) and cooled at 72°C (162°F) per hour or even less.
Physical properties Metric Imperial
Density 8.16 g/cm3 0.294 lb/in3
The shaping of M2 tool steels can be carried out using grinding methods. However, they have poor grinding capability and hence they are regarded as “medium” machinability tool steel under annealed conditions. The machinability of these steels is only 50% of that of the easily machinable W group or water hardening tool steels.
When welding on tool steel, preheat the part to 1100°F (600°C) and maintain this temperature during welding. Allow parts to cool slowly.
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