If you are in search of steel that can tackle humid conditions while keeping rust and corrosion at bay, then it is the LC200N steel that you are looking for. The infamous company Spyderco already owns a series of knives made out of this amazing steel. There are more amazing facts about the steel that we have listed down below.

What is LC200N Steel?

In 2013, a European company called the Zapp Group came up with the LC200N steel. Their sole goal was to create a nitrogen tool steel that has an extreme capacity for resisting corrosion.

The making of the steel is done using the PESR procedure. PESR stands for Pressurized Electric Slag Remelting. The procedure works for adding machinability and a high polishing effect to the steel by refining the microstructure and also boosting the cleanliness level of the steel.

The main purpose of manufacturing the steel is for it to tackle heavy-duty at high temperatures and humid conditions. The steel consists of Fine-grain Nitrogen which is also called Z-FiNit steel, where Z stands for Zapp and FiNit stands for Fine-grain Nitrogen.

The intention of creating LC200N steel was not for knife blades. The steel was created for use in industrial purposes like chemicals, food, recycling and pharmaceuticals. Yet, knife makers do like using steel for blades because of the amazing properties that it possesses. Even NASA used the LC200N steel for manufacturing ball bearings required in their aerospace equipment.

Chemical Composition:


You can classify LC200N as stainless steel because it consists of chromium that is greater than 13%. There are other elements present contributing to various which we have listed down below.

  • 30% of Carbon: Works for increasing the level of hardness, tensile strength and resistance towards abrasion and wear.
  • 15% of Chromium: Improves toughness, tensile strength, edge retention and hardness level.
  • 1% of Manganese: Adds more hardenability, and tensile strength and increases wear resistance.
  • 95% of Molybdenum: Improves toughness, hardness and strength of the metal.
  • 5% of Nickel: Improves toughness of the steel.
  • 5% of Nitrogen: Increases corrosion resistance, edge retention and steel strength.

Steel Hardness:

According to the reading on the Rockwell C scale, the hardness level of LC200N steel lies between 58 to 61 HRC. The rating shows that European steel has a hardness level that can compete with many other well-known stainless steels like 154CM, S35VN, and VG10. You can easily rely on LC200N steel if you are looking to make a knife blade that stays sharp for a lengthy time and can resist heavy impact compared to the performance of cheap steel.

Steel properties:

  • Moderate Toughness: As the hardness level of LC200N steel is high, the toughness level is low because these two factors are indirectly proportional to each other. The steel does possess some toughness that allows knife makers to use it to manufacture fishing, filleting and hunting knives. The steel is not the best choice if you are willing to make a knife that will never chip.
  • Excellent Corrosion Resistance: As the steel consists of a high percentage of chromium, it is stainless with an extreme capacity for resisting rust and corrosion. The steel can keep up excellent performance even underwater, in saltwater and humid conditions while ensuring there is no stain on the surface. The rustproof property of the steel makes it suitable for manufacturing kitchen knives and fishing knives. Steel is used in industries like chemical, food and pharmaceuticals because of its unbeatable performance in keeping out moisture and resisting corrosion.
  • Fair Edge Retention: The edge retention capability of the steel is, unfortunately, moderate which means it is weak in holding sharpness for a long time.
  • Fair Wear Resistance: The hardness level of the steel does not exceed 61 HRC which shows that the hardness is not very high which results in fair wear resistance. Yet, the steel is capable enough to resist daily impact and the edge doesn’t get deformed when you cut up items.
  • Ease of Sharpening: The edge of LC200N is easy to sharpen, as the steel does not have extreme hardness. You will get a razor-sharp edge as the surface has a fine grain microstructure.

Comparing LNC200N with other knife steel options:

LC200N vs. H1:

Both of these steels are known as nitrogen steels with extraordinary capability of resisting corrosion. A lot of experts claim LC200N to be the better version of H1 steel, as it is better in hardness and edge retention than H1.

On the other hand, H1 beats LC200N in terms of toughness and ease of sharpening. The steels show better performances in different edge types. You will witness H1 steel performing better with a serrated edge and LC200N performing better with a plain edge.

LC200N vs. S30V:

You will see S30V beating LC200N steel in edge retention. But S30V loses in front of LC200N when it comes to corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening.

LC200N vs. S35VN:

S35VN beats LC200N steel in terms of hardness and edge retention since it is the upgraded version of S30V. The LC200N steel stays unbeatable by S35VN in toughness, corrosion resistance and ease of sharpening.

LC200N vs. VG10:

LC200N beats VG10 in all aspects except in hardness and edge retention.

So, is LC200N steel good knife steel?

Yes, there is no doubt about LC200N steel being good knife steel with amazing properties that a knife maker dreams of. The extreme corrosion resistance capacity makes it a perfect choice for the manufacturing of blades that are bound to come into contact with salt water and humidity.



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