Tool steel or Die Steel refers to a wide range of carbon and alloy steels which are particularly suitable for making into tools. Their appropriateness benefits from their distinct hardness, abrasion and deformation resistance, and ability to maintain a cutting edge at cryogenic temperatures. Tool steels are also ideal for use when forming certain products. Tool steels are produced under closely regulated conditions to achieve the necessary consistency with a carbon content between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent. The existence of carbides in its matrix plays a major role in tool steel quality.
For tool steel, the four primary alloying elements that form carbides are tungsten, chromium, vanadium, and molybdenum. The manganese content is always kept low in order to reduce the risk of cracking during water quenching. Six groups of tool steels are available: water-hardening (W-Grades), Air Hardening (A-Grades), D Type (D-Grades), Oil Hardening (O-Grades), shock-resisting types (S-Grades), and hot-working (H-Grades). The selection of group to use relies on the cost, required surface hardness, and strength, working temperature, shock resistance, and durability requirements.
Tool and Die Steel have features like low cost, very hard, brittle, relatively low hardenability, suitable for small parts working at not elevated temperatures. Die Steel or Tool Steels are available for various applications such as chisels, forging dies, hammers, drills, cutters, shear blades, cutters, drills, razors.