Close this search box.

420 Stainless Steel: Elements, Characteristics, Limitations, and Applications

420 stainless steel machining


HDC, is your reliable ally in the personalized fabrication of metallic components, boasting an extensive decade-long mastery. Our avant-garde facilities, housing 4-axis and 5-axis machining centers, coupled with cutting-edge inspection apparatus like coordinate measuring machines, bestow upon us the ability to furnish unparalleled precision.

Within the realms of HDC, our focal expertise lies in 420 stainless steel machining, unveiling a reservoir of proficiency and an exhaustive array of procedural alternatives. From CNC machining to casting, forging, laser cutting, and metal stamping, our multifaceted capabilities ensure the fulfillment of the varied requisites of our discerning clientele. Our unwavering commitment to excellence and inventive insight sets us apart, guaranteeing bespoke solutions for your 420 stainless steel constituents.

Embark on an exploration of possibilities with HDC as we harness advanced technology and adept artisanship to breathe vitality into your conceptualizations. Whether entailing intricate blueprints or the demands of high-volume production, our devoted team stands prepared to meet and surpass your expectations in the realm of 420 stainless steel machining.420 stainless steel 1

What is 420 Stainless Steel?

The 420 stainless steel is among the martensitic stainless steels with the highest strength and hardness, as well as a relatively greater resistance to corrosion. The chromium content is quite abundant, ranging from 12-14% and its carbon content is usually 0.15-0.40%, thus, it offers good resistance to corrosion in a mild environment. The higher carbon content within its structure provides better hardness and wear resistance useful for applications that require strength and toughness such as forks and industrial blades. It, nevertheless, is lower in corrosion resistance when being compared to other stainless steel series, especially in chloride environments.

How Is 420 Stainless Steel Named?420 stainless steel 2

The name 420 stainless steel reflects its position as part of a 400 stainless steels series that have more carbon and are chromium-based. The “420” grade refers to a special alloy with around 12% chromium and a higher carbon content (ca. 0.15% minimum), aluminum to this parcel being distinguished by its ability to acquire hardness by heat treatment. By applying this composition, steel tends to have a higher degree of hardness which gives it a capacity to maintain a sharp edge. This property makes the steel particularly appropriate for making cutlery as well as blades. The common way the material is referred to by its average category like “420” helps to indicate its basic functionality during the selecting process for some particular purposes emphasizing on its primary characteristics like corrosion resistance and mechanical strength.

Drawbacks of 420 Stainless Steel

420 Stainless Steel has some desirable properties but in some instances, it can have drawbacks. The corrosion resistance of 310 stainless steel compared to other grades like 304 and 316 is lower, especially in corrosive environments with chlorides or acids, which can lead quickly to pitting and crevice corrosion with inadequate maintenance. In addition, however, this property has a lower strength, making it less tough and prone to breaking at low temperatures. Welding presents several difficulties associated with the high carbon make-up of the material that necessitate preheating and post-weld heat treatment to avert cracking. The sintered metal, difficulty of which becomes manifest in producing uniform hardness across large sections, is the shortcoming of its hardenability. On the one hand, 720 stainless steel is good for its hardness and wear resistance, but on the other hand, one should be careful about the drawbacks such as corrosion, toughness and weldability and so on such that one may select another grade of stainless steel for certain applications when they are more suitable.420 stainless steel 3

Chemical Composition of 420 Stainless Steel 

Stainless steel Grade 420, martensitic stainless steel,has excellent corrosion resistance and ood ductility in the annealed condition It’s main applications of grade 420 stainless steels are surgical equipment, shear blades and needle valves

Carbon (C)0.30 – 0.40 %
Chromium (Cr)12.0 – 14.0 %
Manganese (Mn)0.0 – 1.0 %
Molybdenum (Mo)0.0 – 0.50 %
Nickel (Ni)0.0 – 0.50 %
Phosphorus (P)0.0 – 0.04 %
Silicon (Si)0.0 – 1.0 %
Sulfur (S)0.0 – 0.03 %
Aluminum (Al)0.0 – 0.15 %
Tin (Sn)0.0 – 0.05 %
Iron (Fe)Balance

How Different Components Affect the Properties of 420 Stainless Steel?420 stainless steel 4

A number of elements have effect over the properties of 420 stainless steel. The carbon content dominates with respect to material hardness and strength, and the highest levels tend to make the material harder and stronger, but they might reduce the ductility and toughness of the material. It adds to the corrosion resistance by creating an oxide film on the surface. Molybdenum, which along the other alloying elements, not often added into large amounts, also improves the corrosion resistance and high-temperature strength. Proper heat-treatment processes such as annealing, quenching, and tempering are the key steps in achieving desired mechanical properties. On the other hand, a variety of processing techniques, including machining, welding, and forming, can take a toll on the microstructure and mechanical properties of the material, therefore, regulation of parameters is imperative to avoid defects. This is the aggregate of all factors that are used in the custom making of 420 grade stainless steel based on specific application requirements.

Compare 416 and 420 Stainless Steel

416 and 420 SS, martensitic alloys rich in Cr, offer acceptable corrosion resistance, but the main difference between them is the carbon content where 420 SS gets higher values, thus the hardness and wear resistance go up. To do this, 420 steel becomes more suitable for cutting applications where abrasion resistance is a priority, like on knife blades, while 416 steel, celebrated for its exceptional machinability gets used for machining tasks that need high precision : to satisfy these requirements, nuts and bolts production. Machineability and corrosion resistance are the main criteria to be considered here.420 stainless steel 5

Mechanical Properties of 420 Stainless Steel

Tempering Temperature (°C)Tensile Strength (MPa)

Yield Strength

0.2% Proof (MPa)


(% in 50mm)

Hardness Brinell


Annealed *65534525241 max
399°F (204°C)1600136012444
600°F (316°C)1580136514444
800°F (427°C)1620142010461
1000°F (538°C)1305109515375
1099°F (593°C)103581018302
1202°F (650°C)89568020262
*Annealed tensile properties are typical for Condition A; annealed hardness is the specified maximum for cold finished Condition A bar, given in ASTM A276-06. 
# Due to associated low impact resistance this steel should not be tempered in the range 425- 600°C.

Physical Properties of 420 Stainless Steel420 stainless steel 6



Thermal Conductivity





Modulus of


Coefficient of

Thermal Expansion


Specific Heat


775024.9 at 212°F550 (nΩ.m) at 68°F200 GPa10.3 at 32 – 212°F460 at 32°F to 212°F
 – at 932 °F  10.8 at 32 – 599°F 
    17.7 at 32-1000°F 

Equivalent Materials of 420 Stainless Steel420 stainless steel 7

EUENX30Cr13 (1.4028)










Techniques Used for Processing 420 Stainless Steel

The work with 420 stainless steel commonly uses several manufacturing techniques for the production of various shapes and properties. Drilling and milling are just some of the operations carried out during machining, which are usually completed using carbide or high-speed steel tools for a quicker and more precise removal of the material. With heat treatment such as annealing and tempering, mechanical properties like hardness and toughness can be made optimal. GTAW and GMAW techniques for fusing components before and after the weld are requisite to ensure damage resulting from cracks is not incurred. Different shaping processes like bending and forging allow steel to be formed. In addition, the controlling of temperature, application of lubricants, and controlled processes all help achieve uniform products free of fractures. Surface modifications such as pickling and electroplating make metal more resistant to corrosion and more appealing to look at. In the end these techniques together allow production of selections of parts for broad applications including consideration and selection of being used only in a certain conditions in which we then can have just the required properties.420 stainless steel 8

Applications of 420 Stainless Steel

  1. Automotive:
  2. Aerospace:
  3. Medical Components:
  4. Custom Consumer Products:
  5. Motorcycle:
  6. Trailer:
  7. Bicycle:
  8. Kart:
Scroll to Top