High-Speed Steel or Tungsten Steel, How To Choose the Material?


What is high-speed steel?

High-speed steel (HSS) is a kind of tool steel with high hardness, high wear resistance, and high heat resistance, also known as wind steel or edge steel, which means that it can be hardened and sharp even when it is cooled in the air during quenching. Some are called white steel.

High-speed steel is a kind of alloy steel with complex composition, which contains carbide forming elements such as tungsten, molybdenum, chromium, vanadium, and cobalt. The total amount of alloying elements is about 10-25%.

High-speed steel is mainly used to manufacture complex thin edge and impact-resistant metal cutting tools, as well as high-temperature bearing and cold extrusion die, such as a turning tool, end mill bits, hob, machine saw blade and die with high requirements.

What is tungsten steel?

Tungsten steel (cemented carbide or tungsten carbide) has a series of excellent properties, such as high hardness, wear resistance, good strength and toughness, heat resistance, and corrosion resistance. Especially, its high hardness and wear resistance are basically unchanged even at 500 ℃ and very high hardness at 1000 ℃.

Tungsten steel, mainly composed of tungsten carbide and cobalt, accounts for 99% of all components, and 1% is other metals. Therefore, it is called tungsten steel, also known as cemented carbide, and is considered as the tooth of the modern industry.

Tungsten steel is a sintered composite consisting of at least one metal carbide. Tungsten carbide, cobalt carbide, niobium carbide, titanium carbide, and tantalum carbide are common components of tungsten steel. The grain size of carbide components (or phases) is usually between 0.2-10 μ M. the carbide grains are bonded together by metal binder. Bonding metals are generally iron group metals, and cobalt and nickel are commonly used. So there are tungsten cobalt alloy, tungsten nickel alloy, and tungsten titanium cobalt alloy.

Comparison of material parameters between high-speed steel and tungsten steel

MaterialHardnessRed hardness
High-speed steelHRC64-68650 degrees
Tungsten steelHRC75-80800-1000 degrees

When high-speed steel is quenched, iron, chromium, part of tungsten and carbon in high speed steel form extremely hard carbides, which can improve the wear resistance of steel and make its hardness reach HRC64-68. The other part of tungsten dissolves in the matrix, which increases the red hardness of the steel. The red hardness of high speed steel can reach 650 degrees.

Tungsten steel is a micron scale powder of refractory high hardness metal carbides. It is sintered at high temperature and high pressure with cobalt, molybdenum, nickel as binder. Its hardness is as high as HRC75-80. At the same time, the red hardness of cemented carbide can reach 800-1000 degrees.

Analysis of advantages and disadvantages of high speed steel tool and tungsten steel tool

High speed steel tools

According to the chemical composition, high speed steel tools can be divided into tungsten series and tungsten molybdenum series steel, and according to the cutting performance, they can be divided into ordinary high speed steel and high performance high speed steel.

  • Tungsten series high speed steel: W18Cr4V, heat treatment hardness can reach 63-66hrc, bending strength can reach 3500MPa, good grindability;
  • W-Mo series high speed steel: W6Mo5Cr4V2 is a typical grade, which is replacing W-series high speed steel at present. It has a series of advantages such as fine carbide, uniform distribution, high wear resistance and low cost.

UKO high speed steel tools mainly include HSS disc cutter and HSS end mill

Cemented carbide tools


Cemented carbide grade we have a wealth of analysis, interested can click on the link.

UKO cemented carbide tools mainly include cemented carbide disc cutter, carbide end mill, etc.

High-speed steel toolsLow price, high strength, good toughness, high degree of standardization.Poor wear resistance, low hardness, not resistant to high temperature, low cutting efficiency, processing size easily affected by temperature.
Cemented carbide toolsHigh cutting efficiency, high hardness, wear resistance, high temperature resistance, stable processing quality, good precision machining effect, stable processing size, not easily affected by temperature, is commonly used in the field of precision machining.Low bending strength, poor impact toughness, high brittleness, low ability to withstand impact and vibration, and high price.

Tungsten steel tool exhibition

UKO is involved in high-speed steel and tungsten steel products. Many customers order high-speed steel mold or blade here to save the purchasing cost. But in the processing of metal and wood products, carbide cutting tools are still more competitive and cost-effective.

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