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Case-hardening steel – wear-resistant surfaces and high core toughness

Due to its wear resistance, case hardening steel is used in gear wheels.

Case-hardening steels have a relatively low carbon content ranging between 0.07 and 0.31%. They are intended for case hardening, a special variant of hardening. It consists of the process steps carburizing, hardening and tempering.

A diffusion process is used to introduce carbon into the surface layer up to a C content of approx. 0.8%. The surface hardness and the properties of the core are obtained by hardening and tempering. This process leads to a hard, wear-resistant surface layer, while the core is comparatively tough, which enables the steel to withstand impact stresses without fracture and lends it a high resistance to wear.

Case-hardening steels are standardized in DIN EN ISO 863-3 (previously DIN EN 10084) and in DIN EN 10132, part 2, which is relevant for cold-rolled strip. In practice, three steel grades – C10E, C15E and 16MnCr5– have become standard and are supplied as hot-rolled wide strip, pickled and unpickled.

Typical applications of case-hardening steel

Case-hardening steel is used in automotive engineering as well as in mechanical and plant engineering for parts such as cardan shafts, coupling parts, gears and bolts.

thyssenkrupp supplies the following steel grades as per the product information or the reference steel grades in accordance with the respective standards.

Case-hardening steel according to DIN EN ISO 683-3 (previously DIN EN 10084), DIN EN 10132-2

Steel grade designation Reference grade Material no. THICKNESS1
from _ to in mm
WIDTH1
from _ to in mm
C10 C10 1.1121 1.91 – 20.00 50 – 1,630
C15 C15 1.1141 1.91 – 20.00 50 – 1,630
16MnCr5 16MnCr5 1.7131 2.00 – 13.00 50 – 1,630
20MnCr5 20MnCr5 1.7147 2.00 – 13.00 50 – 1,630
1. Not all thickness and width combinations possible.

Chemical composition

Steel grade C [%] Si [%]
max.
Mn [%] P [%]
max.
S [%]
max.
Cr [%]
max. / -
C10 0.07 – 0.13 0.40 0.30 – 0.60 0.025 0.010 0.30
C15 0.12 – 0.18 0.40 0.30 – 0.60 0.025 0.010 0.30
16MnCr5 0.14 – 0.19 0.40 1.00 – 1.30 0.025 0.010 0.80 – 1.10
20MnCr5 0.17 – 0.22 0.40 1.10 – 1.40 0.025 0.010 1.00 – 1.30
Mass fractions in ladle analysis.
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