The infamous company Benchmark uses CPM S30V for the making of their premium quality hunting knives that have amazing blades. Other well-known knife brands like Spyderco, Zero Tolerance and Piranha use the premium CPM S30V steel for making hunting knives. You will get to know more amazing details about the steel as we listed detailed information in this article.


What is S30V Steel?


The company called Crucible came up with the CPM S30V steel. The owners, Chris Reeve and Dick Barber aimed to create steel that has a high level of toughness and high resistance to corrosion and wear. They also simply call the steel S30V.


The formula of S30V is powder made and it has a martensitic structure because of the tempering and hardening done to the steel so that it has a high level of hardness with great toughness.


There are other steel grades similar to S30V in terms of structure, properties, and formula. These steel grades are S35VN, S60V, S90V, S110V and lastly S125V. The manufacturing process of S30V involves Crucible Particle Metallurgy. This process induces the steel with great toughness, grindability, and dimensional stability.


Chemical Composition of S30V steel:


The formula of S30V is stainless steel. For the properties that the steel has, it contains some elements which we have listed down below.

  • 45% of Carbon: Works for increasing hardness, edge retention capability, and resistance toward wear and corrosion.
  • 14% of Chromium: Increases hardness, toughness, tensile strength and also the resistance towards corrosion.
  • 4% of Vanadium: Enhances hardness, toughness, machinability, and corrosion resistance and increases the strength of the steel.
  • 2% of Molybdenum: Increases corrosion resistance, hardness, toughness, machinability and strength of the steel.


The hardness of the steel:


According to the hardness rating of Rockwell C, the hardness reading of S30V ranges between 58 to 64 HRC. The hardness rating of the scale can vary because of heat treatment. Because of the presence of high amounts of carbon and vanadium in the chemical composition of S30V. The hardness rating of S30V is higher than any other steel that Crucible has formulated.


Properties of S30 steel:


  • Great toughness: Even though S30V has a high hardness rating, surprisingly the steel possesses a great level of toughness. The steel is tough to take on impact and also you will be able to use it for rough use. The reason why the steel has toughness is because of the presence of vanadium carbides and bits of chromium carbides.
  • High wear resistance: The property that makes S30V stand out is its high wear resistance. The unique chemical composition of the steel makes it capable of resisting wear and abrasion to an amazing level. Chemical composition of S30V results in the generation of vanadium carbides. The presence of high amounts of vanadium carbides and low amounts of chromium carbides increases the hardness of the steel and also the wear resistance of the steel. Also, the toughness of the steel increases with more vanadium carbides.
  • Excellent edge retention: There are high amount of vanadium carbides present in S30V steel. These vanadium carbides are distributed in the steel evenly which ensures excellent edge retention and also the steel holds sharpness for a long time. With proper heat treatment, the ability of edge retention gets better.
  • Corrosion resistance: The steel is stainless which gives it the great capability of resisting corrosion. You can easily let the S30V steel face humid and saltwater conditions without worrying about rust. Yet, for the longevity of the knife, it is recommended to maintain the knife by drying it after use.
  • Ease of Sharpening: As you know that the S30V steel has a high rating of hardness, and because of that the steel is not very easy to sharpen. For gaining razor-like sharpness for blades made out of S30V steel you will need to use an expensive sharpener that contains a diamond stone. The positive side of S30V is that you will not need to sharpen the edge frequently as it has excellent edge retention holding capability.


Comparison of S30V with other knife steel options:


S30V vs. D2:


Both of these steels are formulated by Crucible, yet they do have differences. S30V shows better performance in retaining each compared to D2. S30V is also easy to sharpen and has greater caution resistance compared to D2. However, D2 is tougher steel than S30V.


S30V vs. S35VN:


Crucible formulated S35VN to be a better version of S30V. So, in nature wise S35VN is better in all sorts of properties compared to S30V. S35VN beats S30V in edge retention capability, ease of sharpening and lastly corrosion resistance.


S30V vs. S90V:


In the series of steel created by Crucible, S90V is a high-end one which is more difficult to sharpen compared to S30V. Yet, S90V beats S30V in terms of resisting corrosion and toughness level.


S30V vs. S110V:


The S30V has a great amount of toughness and is easy to sharpen compared to S110V. However, S110V has greater edge retention compared to S30V.


S30V vs 154CM:


Both of these steels are inventions of Crucible. S30V has better edge retention because of the finer inner grain structure. The corrosion-resistant capacity of S30V is better than 154CM and also the nature of steel is tougher. However, both of the steels are easy to sharpen.


S30V vs. 20CV:


Both of these steel grades are manufactured by Crucible, but they do have differences in chemical composition. The 20CV steel has a high amount of carbon and chromium in its composition compared to S30V which means it has greater edge retention capability. However, 20CV is difficult to sharpen compared to S30V.


S30V vs. 420HC:


S30V contains a high amount of carbon in its chemical composition which makes it better in terms of wear and corrosion resistance and edge retention compared to 420HC. The level of hardness of S30V is higher compared to 420HC which makes it more difficult to sharpen than S30V.


So, is S30V good knife steel?


Yes, CPM S30V steel is indeed the ideal steel for your knife blades if you are in search of high-end steel. The steel has all the features that you would need for the manufacturing of perfect knife blades. The steel is high in terms of durability, edge retention, and wear resistance.



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