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Alloying Elements for Machining

What is an alloying element?

Alloying element is a chemical element added to the primary substance of the material (in most cases ferrous) to tweak and enhance mechanical, metallurgical, and physical properties to suit different engineering needs.

Why are alloying elements important in machining?

The presence and amount of certain elements have an impact on the machinability of materials. In most cases, it is a negative effect (like Nickel, for example). But certain alloying elements are added to improve machinability (like Sulfur, for example).

Main alloying elements in machining:

Mn 1


Manganese is one of the most common alloying elements. It is added to almost all Steel, stainless steel, and aluminum alloys. In each one of them, it has a different role. In steel, it helps with heat treatment. In stainless steel, it is a nickel substituted and in Aluminum to enhance strength. Learn More

Nickel Alloying Element

Nickel [Ni]

Nickel is one of the most important alloying element in the machining world. It is added in various quantities to many materials having a major effect on their properties. Its presence in high quantity creates materials that are very hard to machine. Learn More

Chromium Alloying element

Chromium [Cr]

Chromium added to carbon steel in percentages greater than 11% creates Stainless Steel. At this percentage and greater (When combined with Nickel), the corrosion resistance of steel vastly increases, and oxidation of the iron is prevented. Chromium also helps to improve mechanical properties, even in smaller amounts. It will increase the steel’s strength, hardness, and ability to be heat treated. Learn More

Molibdenium Mo

Molybdenum [Mo]

Molybdenum (often nicknamed “Moly”), like chromium, affects the corrosion resistance of steel. Molybdenum also increases the hardenability, toughness, and tensile strength of steel. The hardenability is increased by lowering the required quench rate during heat treatment. Molybdenum also decreased the risk of pitting (PRE) by improving resistance to chloride. Learn More


Vanadium [V]

Vanadium is used to enhance the control grain size in steel alloys. Adding Vanadium up to 5% reduces the grain size because the vanadium carbides block the formation of larger grains. Finer grain size helps to increase ductility and strength. It is mainly used in Tool Steels, where strength is a crucial factor. Learn More

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