420 Stainless Steel: Properties and Best Uses

420 stainless steel

When it comes to stainless steel, there are many options on the market.  Each version carrying its own properties and benefits.  Thus, it is always best to consult with an expert when deciding on which steel product is best for your project’s need.  The professionals at Alliant Metals take pride in their extensive knowledge and exceptional customer.  That is why they have created this helpful on 420 stainless steel.

Heat Treatments

420 stainless steel is a higher version of 410 and 416 that can be hardened by heat treatments.  Capable of being hardened up to 50 RHC.  Because of its heating properties, this type of steel is not commonly welded.  The best temperature range to achieve optimal heating is between 1850° and 1950°F.  Temper to required hardness.  Tempering range is 300 -400°F.

Corrosion Resistance

This type of stainless steel contains a minimum of 12 percent chromium.  This amount is a high enough percentage to allow the 420 stainless steel to hold corrosion resistance properties.  The best corrosion resistance can be achieved when the steel is hardened and surface ground or polished.

Machining Properties

Machinability is rated at 30 percent of B1112.  Similar to machining high-carbon, high-chromium tools, but 420 stainless steel creates tough, fibrous chip accumulation.

Physical Properties
  • Density: 0.28 lbs/in3 7.74 g/cm3
  • Electrical Resistivity: microhm-in (microhm-cm) 70°F (21°C) – 21.71 (55)
  • Specific Heat:  BTU/lb/°F (kJ/kg•K) 32 – 212°F (0 – 100°C) – 0.11 (0.46)
  • Thermal Conductivity: BTU/hr/ft2/ft/°F (W/m•K) 14.4 (24.9)
  • Coefficient of Thermal Expansion:  in/in/°F (um/m•K) 32 – 212°F (0 – 100°C) – 5.7 x 10-6 (10.2) 32 -1200°F (0 – 649°C) – 6.8 x 10-6 (12.1)
  • Modulus of Elasticity: ksi (MPa) 29 x 103 (200 x 103)
  • Magnetic Permeability, Magnetic


Common Applications

Although 420 stainless steel can be beneficial in a variety of applications, it is most commonly used for dental and surgical instruments, cutlery, straight edges, and ball bearings.  However, manufacturers primarily use 420 steel in molds.


For a full list of products and their specifications, visit Alliant Metals online.  With over 30 years of experience in the industry, our customers have come to expect, and receive, nothing but the highest quality of service.  Call Alliant Metals today to learn more about their cost-efficient high-quality materials (800) 543-1453.

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