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4340 Steel: Composition, Characteristics, and Applications

4340 alloy steel machining


Welcome to HDC, your trusted ally for personalized metal components, boasting over a decade of specialized proficiency. Equipped with cutting-edge production facilities that house advanced 4-axis and 5-axis machining centers, HDC guarantees precision in every intricate detail. Our extensive expertise is fortified by cutting-edge inspection tools, including coordinate measuring machines, enabling us to provide an array of machining options, such as CNC machining, casting, forging, laser cutting, and metal stamping.

Embark on a journey into the realm of 4340 Steel Machining on our dedicated page, where we unravel the unique features and applications of this remarkable material. Recognized for its outstanding strength, toughness, and high fatigue resistance, 4340 Steel plays a pivotal role in various industries. HDC distinguishes itself in 4340 Steel machining, merging advanced technology with years of expertise. Our unwavering commitment to quality and precision positions us as a dependable partner for all your personalized metal part requirements.

Explore the HDC advantage – a convergence where innovation seamlessly intertwines with craftsmanship. Our capabilities and experience in 4340 Steel machining ensure top-notch results, precisely tailored to meet your specifications.4340 steel 1

Table of Contents

What Is 4340 Steel?

The 4340 steel, a high-strength and tough alloy steel is well-known for its hardenability, strength and toughness. It is classified as a member of the Ni-Cr-Mo steel family and is given the designation 4340 by the AISI (American Iron and Steel Institute) SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) standard. The quantity of nickel, chromium and molybdenum is large in such steel, which results in its excellent mechanical properties. 4340 steel has wide applications in parts or components where extra tension strength is a must, such as aerospace components, some automobile parts, or gears, shafts, and structural components. It can receive different hardness levels by heat treatment and it is normally provided as a quenched and tempered product to increase its strength and toughness. Furthermore, 4340 steel has a good fatigue resistance that endows it to superiority for the challenging applications which are under cyclic loading.

What Are the Disadvantages of 4340 Steel?4340 steel 2

The 4340 steel is mechanically strong and possesses excellent properties, however, some shortcomings are also noticeable. First and foremost, higher alloy contents, especially nickel, chromium, and molybdenum increase the product’s cost, that is reflected in prices which affects affordability. What’s more, welding 4340 steel is difficult because it is highly hardenability and thus it needs to be preheated and post-weld heat treatment to limit the risk of cracking to minimum. Machining also has a few issues such as tool wear and machining difficulties mainly because of alloying elements which require careful selection of cutting parameters as well as tools. On top of that, the corrosion resistance of 4340 grade is not perfect and hence requires more maintenance of properly painted surfaces so as to avoid corrosion in corrosive environments. These are some of the key features to consider when analyzing its applicability to different situations.

What Specification Is 4340 Steel Named After?

4340 steel is named after the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) AISI (American Iron and Steel Institute) specification system. In this system, the prefix “43” denotes a chromium-molybdenum steel, and the numbers “40” indicate the approximate carbon content in hundredths of a percent. Therefore, 4340 steel signifies a chromium-molybdenum steel with approximately 0.40% carbon content. This naming convention provides a standardized way to classify and identify different types of steel based on their chemical composition and mechanical properties.

What Are the Other Names for 4340 Steel?

Mostly 4340 steel, highly regarded for its high strength, toughness, and hardenability, is known in practice with different names depending on local standards or through industry names. Alongside its AISI 4340 designation, it is also given names such as SAE 4340 in the automotive and machinery sectors. On the other hand, in European countries the steel is symbolized as 1.6565 under the EN standard. These alternate names are used to group and mark the nickel-chromium-molybdenum alloy steel and it is deployed mainly in aerospace, automotive and machinery sectors for creating parts having exceptional mechanical properties.4340 steel 3

Chemical Composition of 4340 Steel

4340 Steel is categorized as low alloy steel, characterized by high hardenability, strength, toughness, fatigue resistance and creep resistance similar to 4140 steel. It is typically used for machinery components of industry sectors subject to higher tensile strength compared to 4140 steel, such as spindles, gears, pins, couplings, and more.

Carbon (C)0.37 – 0.43
Iron (Fe)95.195 – 96.33
Chromium (Cr)0.70 – 0.90
Manganese (Mn)0.60 – 0.80
Molybdenum (Mo)0.20 – 0.30
Nickel (Ni)1.65 – 2.0
Phosphorus (P)0.0 – 0.035
Silicon (Si)0.15 – 0.30
Sulfur (S)0.0 – 0.04

The Influence of Elemental Composition on the Performance of 4340 Steel4340 steel 4

The performance of 4340 steel is controlled by its elemental composition, in a very narrow way. Chromium improves hardenability and corrosion resistance while molybdenum brings strength and high temperature resistance. Nickel functions as a grain refiner and tends to improve toughness and impact resistance of the material by creating forceful micro-structures during quenching. Carbon content rules hardness and strength as well and they must be well managed for the purpose of balancing the properties. Manganese, hardens and helps to produce grains of uniform sizes which in turn increases toughness. Silicon host to deoxidation and grain refinement but increases strength and oxidation resistance at the same time. These elements as a whole tune the property of 4340 steel to a performance level that makes it suitable for wide applications in aerospace, automotive, and machine manufacturing.

Mechanical Properties of 4340 Steel

Mechanical PropertiesMetricEnglish
Ultimate Tensile Strength1282 MPa185900 psi
Tensile Yield Strength862 MPa125000 psi
Elongation at Break12.2 %12.2 %
Reduction of Area36.3 %36.3 %
Hardness, Brinell363363
Hardness, Knoop392392
Hardness, Rockwell B100100
Hardness, Rockwell C4040
Hardness, Vickers384384
Modulus of Elasticity200 GPa29000 ksi
Bulk Modulus159 GPa23100 ksi
Shear Modulus78.0 GPa11300 ksi
Poissons Ratio0.290.29
Machinability50 %50 %

Physical Properties of 4340 Steel4340 steel 7

Physical PropertiesMetricEnglishComments
Density7.85 g/cc0.284 lb/in² 
Electrical Properties

Electrical Resistivity

0.0000248 ohm-cm0.0000248 ohm-cmTemperature 20 °C/68.0°F
0.0000298 ohm-cm0.0000298 ohm-cmTemperature 100 °C/212°F
0.0000552 ohm-cm0.0000552 ohm-cmTemperature 400 °C/752°F
0.0000797 ohm-cm0.0000797 ohm-cmTemperature 600 °C/1110°F
Thermal Properties
Specific Heat Capacity 0.475 J/g-°C0.114 BTU/lb-°FTypical 4000 series steel
Thermal Conductivity44.5 W/m-K309 BTU-in/hr-ft²-°FTypical steel

Equivalent Materials of 4340 Steel

EUEN34CrNiMo6 (1.6582)



















What Are the Processing Challenges of 4340 Steel?4340 steel 5

Working on 4340 steel is hard because it is hardenable with alloying elements. Machinability is another problem, especially if the material is in the hardened state because the alloying elements increase the wear of the tools, and also the cutting force. Welding is a difficult application because of cracking possibilities and therefore, a heating process before welding, post-welding heat treatment, as well as special attention to parameters are required. The setting of the heat treatment should be accurately controlled in order to prevent distortion and to achieve the proper properties. Distortion routing is the norm and typically expected during processing, which means vendors have to add fixturing and stress-release processes. Even with the difficulties, many sophisticated techniques and careful monitoring can produce high-grade and high- fitness components with the unique mechanical properties of 4340 steel.

Applications of 4340 Steel4340 steel 6



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