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case-hardened steel

Hardened steel

The term hardened steel is often used for a medium or high carbon steel that has been given the heat treatments of quenching followed by tempering. The quenching results in the formation of metastable Martensite, the fraction of which is reduced to the desired amount during tempering. This is the most common state for finished articles such as tools and machine parts. In contrast, the same steel composition in annealed state will be softer as required for forming and machining.

Case hardened articles starting as low carbon steel can also be labeled hardened steel.

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