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Grade Introduction:
P20 is an alloy tool steel which offers good machine ability even in the hardened and tempered (Brinell 300) condition. This steel gives an excellent polished finish and is one of the most widely accepted specifications for machine cut plastic molds and casting dies. P20 is often supplied in the hardened and tempered condition ready for machining. In this condition it gives excellent wear resistance but if maximum surface hardness is required for compression molding plastic dies or similar tools, the steel can be case hardened or nitride. For better machinability a higher Sulphur version P20S is available. For improved through hardenability in larger sections we also offer 1.2738 P20N
Grade Application:
P20 tool steel is ideally suited for the production of plastic molds. Typical applications include die holders, zinc die casting dies, backers, bolsters and injection molds. The versatility of P20 tool steel with its high tensile characteristics enables uses for a variety of other applications such as shafts, rails and wear strips.
Equivalent grades:
Country USA German GB/T
Standard ASTM A681 DIN EN ISO 4957 GB/T 1299
Grades P20 1.2311 3Cr2Mo
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, M2, M35, M42, 2714, SKD-11, 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 P-20 steel:
Element C Si Mn P S Cr Mo Cu
Content (%) 0.28-0.40 0.20-0.80 0.60-1.00 0.03 0.03 1.40-2.00 0.30-0.55 0.25
Mechanical Properties:
The mechanical properties of P20 tool steels are displayed in the following table.
Properties Metric Imperial
Hardness, Brinell (typical) 300 33
Hardness, Rockwell C (typical) 30 30
Tensile strength, ultimate 965-1030 MPa 140000-150000 psi
Tensile strength, yield 827-862 MPa 120000-125000 psi
Elongation at break (in 50 mm (2″)) 20.0% 20.0%
Compressive strength 862 MPa 125000 psi
Charpy impact (V-Notch) 27.1-33.9 J 20.0-25.0 ft-lb
Poisson’s ratio 0.27-0.30 0.27-0.30
Elastic modulus 190-210 GPa 27557-30457 ksi

Heat treatment:
P20 tool steels are heated to 871-899°C (1600-1650°F) in the carburizing medium during the carburizing process. After being carburized, these steels are heated to 816-871°C (1500-1600°F) in order to be hardened and then held for 15 minutes and finally oil quenched.
Heat the steel uniformly to 820-840°C until heated through. Quench in oil.
Heat uniformly and soak at the tempering temperature for at least one hour per 25mm of section. Allow to cool in still air.
Temperature [°C] 100 200 300 400 500 600
Hardness [HRc] 51 50 48 46 42 36
Tensile [N/mm²] 1730 1670 1570 1480 1330 1140
Physical Properties:
The following table shows the physical properties of P20 tool steels.
Properties Metric Imperial
Density 7.85 g/cc 0.284 lb/in3
Thermal Properties:
The thermal properties of P20 tool steels are given in the following table.
Properties Conditions
T (°C) Treatment
Thermal expansion 12.8 x 10-6/ºC 20-425
Forging Properties:
Heat slowly, allowing sufficient time for the steel to become heated through. Begin forging at 1050°C. Do not forge below 930°C reheating if necessary. After forging, cool very slowly.
Stress Relieving:
When dies are heavily machined, we recommend stabilizing just before finish machining in order to relieve machining strains. Heat to 460-500°C. Soak well and allow to cool in the air.
Heat uniformly to 770-790°C.  Soak well, cool slowly in the furnace. 
Properties Metric Imperial
Density 7.85 g/cc 0.284 lb/in3
P20 tool steels have excellent machinability at about 80% that of water hardening steels.
Conventional methods are used for welding of P20 tool steels.
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