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A steel which owes its distinctive properties to elements other than carbon.
Plain carbon steels have the following limitations:

High tensile strength cannot be combined with good values for toughness and ductility.

Large sections cannot be effectively hardened due to the 'mass effect'

Poor resistance to oxidation, corrosion and creep at high temperatures.

To overcome these limitations alloy steels have been developed which are invariably stronger and/or have much greater resistance to oxidation, corrosion, creep and fatigue. Alloy steels are more expensive than plain carbon steels because of the cost of alloying elements and they are often more difficult to manipulate into shape and to machine.

Nickel and chromium are frequently used together since the grain growth tendency of chromium is checked by the grain refinement due to nickel; also, the graphitizing effect of nickel is offset by the stabilizing effect of chromium. Chromium imports a low rate of oxidation at all temperatures whilst nickel limits grain growth and the brittleness arising there at high temperature. Nickel-chromium alloys are particularly suitable for high-temperature work.

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Accomplished by heating the steel beyond the critical temperature and following by relatively fast cooling. If heating for hardening is being accomplished in the forge fire the color should be a full red and to check on the temperature a magnet may be used, as the steel at or above the critical temperature should be non-magnetic. If the magnet is being used while the temperature is being raised from the room temperature, the correct point to stop heating is where the steel no longer responds to the pull of the magnet. If a furnace is being used to heat the steel to the hardening heat a pyrometer aids greatly in determining the critical temperature.


Any steel used o make tools for cutting, forming, or otherwise shaping a material into a final part.
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