Details S45VN Steel Review

What is S45VN steel?

CPM S45VN is a martensitic, stainless steel that was developed by Crucible to improve S35VN steel. It has had its chemical composition rebalanced in order to be better.

It has more Nitrogen to improve hardness and more chromium to resist corrosion. A high level of vanadium for wear resistance and edge retention is also present. There’s also more niobium for ease of machinability.

S45VN steel was developed in 2019. It is one of the most popular steels on market. Spyderco and Spartan Blades are already using S45VN stainless-steel.

Spyderco’s ParaMilitary 2 and Para 3 knives, which were made with CPM S30V stainless steel but later upgraded to S35VN stainless in the late 1990s, are being slowly updated to the most recent CPM S45VN stainless steel.

It is used in knife manufacturing to make knives for kitchen, hunting and combat. It’s also used in machinery to make feed screws and valve parts, pelletizing equipment, as well as food processing components.

Steel Composition S45VN

Element Content (%)
Carbon C 1.48%
Chromium Cr 16.00%
Nitrogen N 0.15%
Vanadium 3.00%
Molybdenum Mo 2.00%
Niobium Nb 0.50%
Steel Composition S45VN
  • Carbon C 1.48%: Enhances edge retention, hardness and tensile strengths. It increases steel resistance to wear and abrasion as well as corrosion.
  • Chromium Cr 16.00% – More than 11% Chromium makes steel “stainless”. The formation of Chromium carides increases the hardness, tensile and toughness of the blade.
  • Molybdenum Mo 2.00% – It increases machinability, hardness.
  • Vanadium V 3.0%: It increases wear resistance, toughness, and also enhances corrosion resistance. Vanadium carbides can be formed when there is a high level of vanadium.
  • Nitrogen Ni 0.155%: Increases hardness, corrosion resistance.
  • Niobium Nb 0.50%: Increases steel’s toughness.

Steel S45VN Steel Properties

S45VN Steel Hardness

CPM S45VN’s hardness is 61-63HRC according to the Rockwell hardness scale. There is an opportunity to get a higher hardness depending on the heat treatment applied by the manufacturer. The addition of Nitrogen to the S45VN alloy results in a higher hardness than its predecessors, S30V and S35VN.

Steel Edge Retention CPM S45VN Steel

CPM S45VN has a higher carbon content which results in better edge retention. This steel’s edge retention is better than its predecessor, S35VN. It can be felt when cutting cardboard and ropes.

CPM S45VN Steel Corrosion Resistance

S45VN, which contains 16 percent of the chromium it contains (16%) makes it stainless steel. Some of the Chromium elements can be used to make fine chromium carbonides, while others are used for rust resistance. This steel knives are very resistant to rust and will not corrode in wet or humid environments.

Steel Wear Resistance CPM S45VN

This steel is more resistant to wear than S35VN. This steel has a higher wear resistance because of the combination of increased Niobium and Carbon components.

Its high level of vanadium makes it wear resistant. CPM S45VN knives are extremely durable and won’t deform for many years because of this property.

Steel toughness S45VN

The main reason for upgrading the S30V from the CPM-S45VN to the S45VN was to increase its toughness. S45VN, while tougher than the S35VN, is still less durable. This steel is extremely tough due to the Crucible Powder Metallurgy manufacturing method and its chemical composition. S45VN blades are resistant to damage from impact and other tough applications.

Sharpening of Steel S45VN

Hardness determines how easy it is to sharpen steel. CPM S45VN has a hardness between 61 and 63 HRC. This makes it difficult to sharpen. This steel will require more effort and time to achieve a razor-sharp edge.

It holds its edge for a long period of time so you won’t need to keep it sharpened.

CPM-S45VN Stainless Steel Machinability

High-end steels can be difficult to work with. However, S45VN stainless is a different story. This steel is easy to grind and polish. This steel requires less effort and energy to produce high-quality knife blades. This can be attributed in part to Niobium, which improves machinability.

S45VN vs. S35VN

S35VN is the predecessor to S45VN stainless. Both steels share a similar chemical composition, but S45VN has higher amounts of Chromium or NItrogen. The S45VN steel has better wear resistance, edge retention and corrosion resistance.

The addition of nitrogen to most nitrogen-based steels like CT BD1N and LC200N has always resulted in better edge retention and corrosion resistance.

S45VN vs. 440C

S45VN and 440C are different in that S45VN is more tough, edge retention, wear resistance and corrosion resistance than 440C. It is much easier to sharpen a blade made of 440C steel.

Steel S45VN has a four-fold greater toughness than 440C stainless. According to CATRA (Cutlery& Allied Trades research organization), S45VN steel has 43% better cutting performance than 440C stainless steel in edge retention and cutting.

S45VN vs. CTS BD1N

CPM-S45VN and CTS BD1N have different properties. S45VN steel has better edge retention and toughness. CTS-BD1N stainless Steel provides superior performance in corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and other aspects.

CPM S45VN stainless Steel’s superior performance in toughness to CTS BD1N stainless Steel can be attributed the lower amount of chromium carides, which are extremely brittle when exposed to more demanding applications.

CTSBD1N blade steel has a higher corrosion resistance than most stainless steel blades, including S45VN stainless. This is due to the high content of chromium in CTSBD1N steel as well as the addition of nitrogen to its alloy.

CTS BD1N Blade Steel corrosion resistance is comparable with Sandvik14C28N steel.

Although CTS BD1N blade Steel can attain a higher hardness than S45VN Blade Steel, it doesn’t necessarily have better edge retention than S45VN. Vanadium carbides are what make S45VN blade steel more resilient than CTS BD1N.

S45VN and 20CV

The S45VN and 20CV steel blades have different toughness characteristics. CPM 20CV steel blades, on the other side, offer superior edge retention and corrosion resistance to CPM S45VN.

CPM 20CV as well as CPM S45VN have an almost identical Rockwell range of 58-60HRC. However, stainless steel blades made from S45VN will be more tough due to the lower chromium carbides that are extremely brittle.

CPM20CV composition has a higher proportion of vanadium and chromium than S45VN composition. These elements enable the formation of large volumes of carbides, which helps in edge retention and wear resistance.

S45Vn stainless is also more resistant to corrosion than 20CV stainless steel due to its 20% Chromium content. CPM 20CV stainless steel performs better than S45VN, but S45VN stainless is more usable and easier to sharpen.

S45VN and M390

CPM S45VN stainless-steel blades are slightly tougher than BohlerM390 steel, and they are easier to sharpen.

On the other hand, Bohler M390 steel is more resistant to corrosion and retains its edge better than CPM-S45VN steel. Bohler M390 stainless steel’s corrosion resistance is the best among all stainless steel. Only Vanax steel and LC200N are better than Bohler steel.

Due to its more balanced composition and lower chromium content, S45VN blade will often outperform M390 blade in toughness. The M390 alloy has a lot of chromium elements because it was made to be high-wear-resistant and stainless.

The pros and cons of stainless steel S45VN

Steel S45VN has many advantages

  • Excellent Edge Retention
  • Excellent Corrosion Resistance
  • High Hardness Up to 61 HRC
  • Great Wear Resistance

Cons of S45VN steel

  • Comparable to S35VN, relative low toughness
  • It is difficult to sharpen
  • Therefore, new steel may be more costly

Is S45VN Steel good?

CPM S45VN stainless is a great knife steel. It has excellent edge retention, wear resistance, incredible corrosion resistance, moderate toughness, and great edge retention. It is not easy to sharpen but it will last for a very long time so you won’t need to do it as often.

It is also very machinable, making it simple to cut, grind, and polish knives. The easy machinability of this knife means that production costs are lower, which results in high-quality knives at an affordable price.

About the author

Hi, my name is Jaba Ray. I'm a knife expert and researcher. I am the creator of thesandwichknife.com, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I love people who need suitable steel or knife for their cook because I'm also a food lover. I work with a team of people who've always had a passion for knives and blades on this site.

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