Tool steels are carbon, alloy, and high-speed steels that can be hardened and tempered to high hardness and strength values. This article discusses the classifications of commonly used tool steels: water-hardening tool steels, shock-resisting tool steels, cold-work tool steels, and hot-work tool steels. It describes four basic mechanisms of tool steel wear: abrasion, adhesion, corrosion, and contact fatigue wear. The article describes the factors to be considered in the selection of lubrication systems for tool steel applications. It also discusses the surface treatments for tool steels: carburizing, nitriding, ion or plasma nitriding, oxidation, boriding, plating, chemical vapor deposition, and physical vapor deposition. The article describes the properties of high-speed tool steels. It summarizes the important attributes required of dies and the properties of the various materials that make them suitable for particular applications. The article concludes by providing information on abrasive wear and grindability of powder metallurgy steels.
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