ThePipingMart Blog Grades SAE/AISI 52100 Alloy Steel (UNS G52986) – Composition, Properties and Uses

SAE/AISI 52100 Alloy Steel (UNS G52986) – Composition, Properties and Uses

Die Steel SAE/AISI 52100

Die steel AISI 52100 is a high-carbon chromium alloy steel that contains 1% carbon, 1.5% chromium, and 0.25% molybdenum. UNS G52986 is known for its excellent wear resistance, toughness, and strength. This makes it an ideal choice for applications such as bearings and gears, where the material needs to be tough and strong but still able to withstand wear and tear. In this article, we will be exploring the uses of AISI 52100 Alloy Steel, its corrosion resistance, heat resistance, heat treatment, machining capabilities, and welding abilities.

AISI 52100 Composition

Element Content (%)
Iron, Fe 96.5 – 97.32
Chromium, Cr 1.30 – 1.60
Carbon, C 0.980 – 1.10
Manganese, Mn 0.250 – 0.450
Silicon, Si 0.150 – 0.300
Sulfur, S ≤ 0.0250
Phosphorous, P ≤ 0.0250

AISI 52100 Physical Properties

Properties Metric Imperial
Density 7.81 g/cm3 0.282 lb/in³
Melting point 1424°C 2595°F

AISI 52100 Mechanical Properties

Properties Metric Imperial
Bulk modulus (typical for steel) 140 GPa 20300 ksi
Shear modulus (typical for steel) 80 GPa 11600 ksi
Elastic modulus 190-210 GPa 27557-30458 ksi
Poisson’s ratio 0.27-0.30 0.27-0.30
Hardness, Brinell
Hardness, Knoop (converted from Rockwell C hardness) 875 875
Hardness, Rockwell C (quenched in oil from 150°C tempered) 62 62
Hardness, Rockwell C (quenched in water from 150°C tempered) 64 64
Hardness, Rockwell C (quenched in oil) 64 64
Hardness, Rockwell C (quenched in water) 66 66
Hardness, Vickers (converted from Rockwell C hardness) 848 848
Machinability (spheroidized annealed and cold drawn. Based on 100 machinability for AISI 1212 steel) 40 40

AISI 52100 Thermal Properties

Properties Metric Imperial
Thermal expansion co-efficient (@ 23-280°C/73.4- 36°F, annealed) 11.9 µm/m°C 6.61 µin/in°F
Thermal conductivity (typical steel) 46.6 W/mK 323 BTU in/hr.ft².°F

AISI 52100 Uses

Die steel SAE/AISI 52100 is primarily used in applications such as bearings and gears due to its excellent wear resistance and strength. It can also be used for knife blades or tools because it holds an edge well and does not corrode easily. This alloy can also be found in medical instruments, including artificial hip joints, due to its ability to operate under extreme temperatures without becoming brittle or losing its shape.

Corrosion Resistance

Die steel SAE/AISI 52100 is resistant to corrosion due to its high chromium content, which prevents oxidation from occurring on the surface of the material. The presence of molybdenum in the alloy further strengthens the corrosion resistance properties of this material by providing additional protection against oxidation at higher temperatures. Its corrosion-resistant properties make die steel SAE/AISI 52100 a great choice for applications where exposure to moisture or chemicals is likely.

Heat Resistance

The high carbon content in die steel SAE/AISI 52100 gives it excellent heat resistance properties, which make it suitable for extreme temperature environments such as engine parts or machinery that operates in hot conditions for extended periods of time without failure or damage from overheating. The addition of molybdenum further enhances these properties by providing additional protection against heat at higher temperatures.

Heat treatment

Heat treatment of SAE/AISI 52100 dies steel involves critical temperatures and techniques to achieve the desired mechanical properties. Typically, different operations are executed during heat treatment processes, such as hardening, annealing, tempering, and quenching.


Hardening is used to increase hardness and strength while minimizing wear of SAE/AISI 52100 die steel by heating it above its critical point of 840°C followed by rapidly cooling it.


Annealing is used to restore ductility in the steel after it has been hardened by re-heating up to 750°C and slowly cooling it down.


Tempering can be done in a low-temperature range to increase toughness, reduce the risk of cracking, prevent the brittle-ductile transition temperature from rising or protect against stress corrosion cracking occurring due to high concentrations of sulfur in SAE/AISI 52100 die steel.

Lastly, quenching is done to quickly cool down heated steel components in a liquid medium such as oil or water after the heat treatment process has been completed. This results in obtaining maximum hardness and the highest mechanical performance.


Machining dies steel SAE/AISI 52100 can be a challenging yet rewarding process. This type of steel provides good wear and excellent fatigue life, making it a highly sought-after material for numerous applications. To ensure the machining process is completed efficiently, proper planning and selection of tools are necessary. To get the best results, selecting high-speed cutting tools with low rake angles and providing adequate cooling during the machining process is important. With careful attention to detail, you can improve tool life and reduce vibration during machining to achieve a high-quality finish. Using these techniques for machining die steel SAE/AISI 52100 will yield an optimum outcome every time.


SAE/AISI 52100 is one of the most commonly used die steels, offering a range of beneficial properties such as great machinability and wear resistance. It is well known for its ability to handle extreme amounts of stress and be resilient in fluctuating temperatures. When it comes to welding 52100 steel, the best results come when there is proper welding technique and very little heat input. Because this steel is so hard and strong, if too much heat is applied, it can easily crack or even shatter. To help prevent this, any protective oxide film that forms should be removed before beginning to weld, as this can cause porosity in the finished weld. With patience and care, 52100 die steel can be successfully welded using TIG or MIG welding methods with excellent results that will last for years to come.


Die steel SAE/AISI 52100 offers a great combination of wear resistance, toughness, strength, corrosion resistance, heat resistance, and machinability, making it an ideal choice for many industrial applications where these qualities are needed, such as bearings and gears, as well as medical instruments like artificial hip joints. Its weldability makes it easy to fabricate when needed, while its machinability allows users to modify components quickly when needed without compromising quality or strength levels. All in all, die steel SAE/AISI 52100 is an incredibly versatile alloy perfect for many different industrial projects!

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