M2 steel comes in a high-speed steel made of tungsten and molybdenum as its primary components. These elements offer it exceptional durability, wear resistance and toughness.
The steel is used to create custom and high-end knives since the 90s. However, recently, it was replaced with M4, which is more durable and has superior properties.
Furthermore M2 high-speed steel is ideal for cold-work applications such as punching tools, pressing, and for forming.
M2 Steel Chemical Composition
- Carbon C 0.88%: Enhances edge retention, hardness and the strength of tensile. It also increases steel resistance in the face of wear, friction and corrosion.
- Chromium Cr 4.50 percent The formation of carbides from Chromium. The hardness of the blade is increased as well as tensile strength and corrosion resistance.
- Molybdenum Mo 5.50 percent it improves machinability as well as hardness.
- Vanadium V 2.20 percent: reduces grain growth at elevated temperatures during process and heating treatment which increases the toughness and strength of steel. It also produces carbides that improve wear resistance.
- Nickel Ni 0.30 percent enhances toughness and strength. It enhances hardenability, but not in the same way as the other alloying elements that are found in steel. It can increase corrosion resistance significantly.
- Phosphorous P 0.03 percent: Increases the strength and improves the machinability of steel
- Manganese Mn 0.40 percent: increases the hardness and strength of steel. If the steel is treated with heat and hardenability is increased due to an increase in manganese.
- Silicon Si 0.45%: It increases strength and resistance to heat.
- Sulfur S 0.03%: Increases the machinability, but is considered an impurity in large amounts.
- Cu Cu 0.25 percent: When added to steel alloys in tiny amounts, it improves its chemical characteristics of the steel by enhancing the resistance to corrosion.
- Tungsten W 6.75 percent Improves durability and wear resistance, generally used in conjunction with tool steel.
M2 Steel Properties
M2 Steel Hardness
AISI M2 steel is hard with a hardness range of between 62 and 65HRC as measured by the Rockwell scale of hardness. This high hardness provides this steel with high durability and edge-retention.
M2 Edge Retention
The most desirable characteristic of M2 stainless steel is its capacity to remain sharp for a lengthy time that is expected from extremely robust steel to cut high speed. So, if you’ve been looking for a knife that will stay razor-sharp all the time and lasts for a long time, you’re at the right spot as M2 blades provide precisely that.
M2 Wear Resistance
Another aspect that is influenced by the high toughness, is the wear-resistant. The 62HRC hardness provides the M2 high speed steel with a superior resistant to wear. What’s more, the carbides that are evenly distributed in their composition help to increase wear resistance.
Don’t be surprised to discover that this particular steel has a higher wear resistance than other steels that are in the premium category.
M2 Steel Toughness
Due to its hardness, you should be expecting M2 to have low toughness, which is the case with other types of hard steel. But M2 is against the norm and provides excellent toughness. What’s more interesting is that it has a higher degree of durability for blades with harder than 63HRC.
With its superior hardness, M2 steel can be able to withstand impacts and shocks that result from applications that are extremely hard. It is for this reason it is employed in the production of knifes for joints and for planning. If you’re searching for the top knives in the field of batoning, flexing or breaking, you should look into the different types that M2 steel offers.
M2 Steel Corrosion Resistance
Is M2 steel stainless? M2 steel isn’t a stainless steel due to there is a small amount of chromium present in its composition doesn’t qualify for the designation of stainless steel. The good thing is that the low amount of chromium provides a significant resistance to corrosion.
However, its resistance to corrosion is not comparable to stainless steel, such as CTSXHP steel however it’s one of the disadvantages of this type of steel. If you’re looking for knives that are able to resist staining and rust then you should not use this type of steel. M2 stainless steel is extremely vulnerable to corrosion.
To increase the resistance to corrosion of M2 knives, manufacturers apply antirust coatings that allow them to stay in use for longer without getting rusty.
Sharpening M2 Steel
A further disadvantage of M2 is that it’s difficult to sharpen, which is normal due to its toughness. If you do not have the correct sharpening tools and skills and tools, it can be difficult to achieve a sharp edge. But, professionals can achieve sharpness that lasts.
M2 Tool Steel Comparison
M2 Vs. M4 Tool Steel
As mentioned earlier M4 steel can be used as an alternative to M2 steel. M4 is a higher percentage of carbides within its composition as a result of its higher carbon content, which makes it more effective in terms of edge retention and wears resistance and durability. However, they do not offer the same degree of toughness.
M2 Steel Vs. D2 Steel
D2 Tool Steel has the same M2 steel and offers the same level of hardness. However, M2 offers greater wear resistance and toughness and is also much easier to sharpen. However, D2 beats M2 in resistance to corrosion since it is usually considered to be semi-stainless stainless steel for tools.
Is M2 Steel Good For Knives?
Yes! AISI M2 steel is a great choice for durability, edge retention, and wear resistance and is sharp for a long time. Thanks to these qualities, M2 makes good knife steel but isn’t suitable for those who are averse to knives that have excellent corrosion resistance M2 is easily stained and rusts when left in environments that are corrosive.