There are a number of different types and grades of stainless steels available. Each one has unique characteristics that make it suitable for specific applications. 440 stainless steel is often seen in knives, and many custom knifemakers find it to be a very workable material for their blades.
Unlike other types of stainless steel, 440 is an austenitic grade that has high carbon and chromium content. This combination makes it a strong, hard metal with good wear resistance and corrosion resistance. It also has excellent workability in the annealed state, though it becomes difficult to machine once it is hardened.
Although it can be welded, 440 does not like to be air cooled after welding and will tend to crack. This can be avoided by thorough soaking and furnace cooling after the weld is completed. 440 can also be cold rolled to the desired thickness, but it will lose its corrosion resistance and toughness.
Unlike other grades of stainless steel, 440 does not respond to tempering very well. It is best to avoid tempering in the range of 425 and 565 degrees Fahrenheit because it will reduce its impact strength and hardness. If you need to temper 440, it should be done at temperatures of around 1010 degrees Fahrenheit. Stainless Shapes is an expert supplier of 440 stainless steel, and we can help you determine the appropriate heat treatment process for your application. Contact us today to discuss your options.