Tool steel, as the term is used in the machine building industry may be defined in a general way as any steel that is suitable for making cutting or certain other classes of tools. Tool steel contains a sufficient amount of carbon so that it will harden if heated above a certain temperature and rapidly cooled. The crucible process formerly was used for making all the high-grade tool steel used for metal-cutting tools and, consequently, the terms " tool steel" and "crucible steel" are often used interchangeably, but at the present time the electric furnace is used extensively for producing tool steel.
Open-hearth Tool Steel: Open-hearth tool steel is used for a large variety of tools and implements which ordinarily are made from steels containing about 0.65 to 0.85 percent carbon. These tools include hammers, sledges, pliers, wood-working tools, stone cutters’ tools, picks, bars, axes, cheap knives, blacksmith tools, forging dies, and numerous other products.
Electric Steel: The most important uses of electric furnaces in steel plants
and foundries are for making special alloy steels, tool steel, and for melting
the steel used in making steel castings. Electric furnaces are also used for
melting the ferro-alloys which are added to “special steels”. Electric
furnaces permit the very close control of the composition of steel, and alloy
additions may be made in the furnace itself rather than in the ladle.
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