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Tool steels are any steel used to make tools for cutting, forming, or shaping manufactured parts. Most tool steels are wrought products alloyed with relatively large amounts of tungsten, molybdenum, vanadium, manganese, and/or chromium. The article describes a wide variety of tool steels, including high-speed steels, hot and cold-work steels, shock-resisting steels, and special-purpose steels. Hot-work steels are designed to withstand excessive amounts of heat, pressure, and abrasion, suiting them for punching, shearing, and high-temperature forming applications. Cold-work tool steels have exceptional dimensional stability and wear resistance, but lack the alloy content necessary to resist softening at temperatures above 205 to 260 deg C. The article examines standard designations for all tool steel types and provides corresponding composition and property ranges. It also discusses surface treatments, fabrication issues, and in-service measures of performance.

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