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Tool steels are specialty steels, produced in relatively low volumes, optimized for applications requiring precise combinations of wear resistance, toughness, and hot hardness. This chapter describes the AISI classification system by which tool steels are defined. It discusses primary types, including high-speed and shock-resisting steels, and their associated subtype groups (W, L, S, O, A, D, H, M, and T series). It also discusses the types of carbides found in tool steels and their influence on mechanical properties. The chapter concludes with a discussion on heat treatment effects unique to tool steels, including two-phase effects, austenite stabilization, and the conditioning of retained austenite.

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Tool Steels, Steel Metallurgy for the Non-Metallurgist, By John D. Verhoeven, ASM International, 2007, p 157–163,

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