52100 steel review - 1095 cro-van steel

52100 steel review (1095 cro-van steel)

52100 steel is high carbon steel equivalent to 1095 steel with little addition of chromium. The addition of chromium given it another name, “1095 cro-van steel”. This steel is commonly used in Mill rolls, fasteners, and many other applications mentioned below. In the present topic, under discussion topics are composition, properties, mechanical working, heat treatment, and uses of 52100 steel.

For Blade steels, you can review;

UNS Number (1095 cro-van steel) 


What is 52100 steel

52100 steel is a high carbon low alloy steel with the minor addition of other alloying elements. The number here is according to SAE 5 digit system. In this composition, 5 indicates chromium as an alloying element other than carbon. 2 digit indicates chromium content in between 1% and 2%. The last three digits are used for carbon percentage in carbon steels. In this grade 100 digits indicate 1095 cro-van steel contains carbon percentage equal to 1% approximately. 

52100 steel Composition

The table here given gives us 52100 steel composition along with a composition of 52100 steel equivalent;

Elements1095 plain steel52100 steel
C0.90 - 1.030.90 - 1.03
Mn0.30 - 0.500.25-0.45
S< 0.050< 0.025
P< 0.040< 0.025
SiNIL 0.15-0.30 
CrNIL 0.40-0.60 

52100 steel properties

1095 cro-van steel Physical properties

PropertiesUnits (metric)
Melting Point1424 C
Density7.81 g/cm3

Mechanical Properties

For hardness test, you can review;

PropertiesUnits (Metric)
Yield Strength525 Mpa
UTS685 Mpa
Poisson ratio0.3
Elastic Modulus210 GPa
Hardness (Vicker)55
Hardness (Rockwell C)690
Machinability (Based on AISI 1212 steel as 100 mahinability)0.4

Follow the links below for checking the variation of hardness due to quenching media, and temperature.

  • Crucible Steel AISI 52100 Alloy Steel (Link)

1095 crov-van steel Thermal Properties

W1 steel ConditionCTE Liner (µm/m - C)

Electrical Properties

W1 steelproperties
Thermal Conductivity (W/m. K)46.6
Specific Heat Capacity0.475 J/g - C


52100 steel Machinability

Machinability is an essential part of tools fabrication. This type of steel is normally used for decorative swords it quite popular with name, “1095 cro-van steel for Japanese katana swords”. 

For machinability, spheroidizing is carried out before the machining process to improve machinability. It helps in converting the cementite brittle network giving better machining characteristics. Spheroidizing temperature for 1095 cro-van steel is 649oC. 


All types of forming processes from cold working processes to hot working processes can be used for development specific cutting tools, fasteners, dies, and many more industrial used tools. 



Forging temperature for AISI 52100 carbon steel is in-between 927oC and 1205oC.

 52100 steel Heat treatment

The heat treatment processes on 52100 steel are carried out to improve mechanical properties as well as machining characteristics. 


There are two types of annealing commonly employed for high carbon steel. One is inter critical annealing to reduce brittleness and the other is spheroidizing annealing. You can study types of annealing in Annealing types. 

Microstructure development during inter critical annealing is important for reducing brittleness while releasing all stresses developed during forging and cold working processes. The microstructure developed during inter critical annealing can be studied in the Annealing section.

Temperature for inter critical annealing is 872oC. 


In spheroidizing, machining ability is normally improved by converting cementite, and chromium carbides into spheroidized carbides and ferritic matrix. 

Temperature for spheroidizing is in between 650oC and 700oC.

Normalizing 52100 steel

After machining, stresses need to be relived before hardening. The machining process is employed as an annealed state when hardness and mechanical properties of steel are on the lower side. After hardening, high carbon steel will have induced brittleness which makes it difficult to machine. 

Normalizing 52100 steel temperature is 872oC.


During hardening, the role of quenching media is very important. The fast cooling rate may result in quench cracks due to the inability of the matrix to absorb stresses. 


Hardening temperature for 52100 is in the range of 790oC and 900oC.

52100 Bearing Steel

It is high carbon steel with composition as mentioned above but in hardened condition for this grade to be used in bearings. 

This grade of steel has high rolling strength and wear resistance making it eligible for bearing manufacturing. For 52100 bearing steel properties, you can follow the link;

Following spheroidizing annealing cycle for 52100 bearing steel is recommended;

52100 steel spheroidizing cycle
52100 steel spheroidizing cycle

Applications of 1095 cro-van steel

  • Mills rolls
  • Automotive parts
  • Fasteners
  • Knives
  • Antifriction bearings
  • Dies
1095 cro-van steel applications
1095 cro-van steel applications


Is 1095 cro van steel stainless?

No, they are not. Stainless is a class of steel that contains a minimum of 11.5% of chromium in its composition for complete resistance against moisture and the environment. In 1095 Cro-van steel, chromium percentage is only 0.6 % giving a little resistance but not that much to make it stainless.

How to care for 1095 cro van steel?

1095 cro van plain carbon steel usually get rusted in a moisture environment. After use, these knives must be cleaned properly and oil it after every week. The oil acts as a barrier and prevents moisture reaction on the surface. With the oil barrier, the knife also becomes shiny.

Is 1095 cro van steel good for knives?

Maybe Yes, and Sometimes No. It depends upon the usage of a knife. 1095 cro van steel has low rust resistance. That’s why it can not be used in a wet environment like hunting or fish caching. On the other hand, this steel is excellent for decoration purposes and grass cutting because of excellent hardness and wear resistance. This steel is a budgeted knife and you can get it at a price 4 times less than that of stainless steel knives due to low manufacturing cost.