SAE 4140 Alloy steel grade is a versatile alloy with good atmospheric corrosion resistance and reasonable strength. It shows good overall combinations of strength, toughness, wears resistance, and fatigue strength.
SAE 4140 alloy steel grade finds many applications as forgings for the aerospace and oil and gas industries, along with myriad uses in the automotive, agricultural, and defense industries, Typical uses are forged gears and shafts, spindles, fixtures, jigs, and collars.
Addition to other grades:
MS, EN1A, EN3B, EN8, EN8D, EN9, EN19, EN24, EN31, EN32B, EN36C, EN41B, EN43B, EN47, EN353, IS2062, 42Crmo4, HCHCR, D2, D3, H-11, H-13, CW-1, OHNS, M2, M35, M42, DIN1.2714, P20, P20+S, P20+Ni, SCM420, ASTMSA-36, ASTMSA-105, SAE1018, SAE4140, SAE8620, 16MNCR5, 20MNCR5, C20, C45, C50, C60, CK45, 20C8, 40C8, 45C8, 55C8, C55MN75, SAE52100, S40C, S355J2G3.
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The following table shows the chemical composition of SAE4140 steel:
Bulk modulus (typical for steel)
Shear modulus (typical for steel)
Elongation at break (in 50 mm)
Hardness, Knoop (converted from Brinell hardness)
Hardness, Rockwell B (converted from Brinell hardness)
Hardness, Rockwell C (converted from Brinell hardness. Value below normal HRC range, for comparison purposes only)
Hardness, Vickers (converted from Brinell hardness)
Machinability (based on AISI 1212 as 100 machinability)
Heat treatment is carried out after hot working to render the steel suitable for machining and to meet the mechanical property ranges specified for the steel’s particular applications.
SAE 4140 alloy steel bar, plate, and square can be hardened by cold working, or heating and quenching.
SAE 4140 alloy steel is usually supplied with ready heat treated to hardness in 18-22 HRC. If further heat treatment is required, then heat to 840 ℃ – 875 ℃, hold until temperature is uniform throughout the section, soak for 10 – 15 minutes per 25 mm section, and quench in oil, water, or polymer as required.
Re-heat SAE4140 grade steel to 550℃ – 700 ℃ as required, hold until temperature is uniform throughout the section, soak for 1 hour per 25 mm of the section, and cool in still air.
The physical properties of SAE 4140 alloy steel are highlighted in the following table.
Forging of SAE 4140 steel should be carried out between 2200 and 1650 º F (1200 and 900 º C). The lower the finishing temperature from forging, the finer will be the grain size. This alloy steel should ideally not be forged below 1650 º F (900 º C) and should be slow cooled after forging in oil or water.
Stress Relieving Heat to 680°C– 700°C, hold until temperature is uniform throughout the section, soak for 1 hour per 25 mm section, and cool in still air.
This process is defined as heating a steel to a temperature above the ferrite to austenite transformation range and then cooling in air to a temperature well below this transformation range. This treatment may be carried out on forged products as a conditioning treatment prior to final heat treatment. Normalizing also serves to refine the structure of forgings that might have cooled non-uniformly from their forging operation. The nominal normalizing temperature for 4140 grade is 1600 º F (870 º C), but production experience may necessitate a temperature either 50 º F (10 º C) above or below this figure. In fact, when forgings are normalized before, say, carburizing or hardening and tempering, the upper range of normalizing temperatures is used. When normalizing is the final heat treatment, the lower temperature range is used.
SAE 4140 alloy steel is annealed at 872°C (1600°F) followed by slowly cooling in the furnace.
SAE 4140 alloy steel has good machinability in the annealed condition.
SAE 4140 alloy steel can be welded using all conventional techniques. However, the mechanical properties of this steel will be affected if it is welded in the heat-treated condition, and post-weld heat treatment should be performed.
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