Types of Cutting Tool Materials and Their Properties
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Types of Cutting Tool Materials and Their Properties

In this article, we are going to discuss the types of cutting tool materials and their properties. Cutting tools are widely used in the industry and these tools play an important role in improving the production rate and the quality of the product.

There are many different types of cutting tools. These are used in the industry for the machining of metals and materials. Cutting tools undergo high temperature and force. So cutting tools must be designed on the basis of the job these cutting tools are going to perform and should have the following main characteristics.

  • Toughness- toughness is the ability of a material to register the fracture when an impact load is applied. Materials which are having the height of an must be a combination of high ductility and high strength. The materials which are having high strength but low ductility have low toughness
  • Hardness – hardness is the property or ability of the material to resist penetration. Hardness is one of the most important properties when selecting the tool cutting material.
  • Wear resistance- Wear resistance of a material is the ability of that material to resist the wear of the cutting tool by some mechanical action.
  • Impact resistance– impact resistance is also called impact strength and is described as a material to observe shock or impact energy without breaking.

Types of Cutting Tool Materials

There are many types of cutting tool materials which are explained below:

  1. High-Speed Steel
  2. Ceramics
  3. Plain carbon and alloy steels
  4. Cemented carbides
  5. Synthetic diamond
  6. CBN

let’s discuss each of the cutting tool materials one by one

High-Speed Steel

High-Speed Steel comprises a set of Steel alloys that are used to cut materials at a faster rate than traditional high-carbon Steel. This is because of exceptional hardness, resistance against softening at high temperatures, and abrasion resistance. These high-speed steels are used for manufacturing cutting tools. The element contains chromium, tungsten, cobalt, vanadium, and molybdenum are improve the wear resistance and hot hardness. High-speed Steel is used for manufacturing drills, turning tools, milling cutters, and taps. Some characteristics are given below:

  • High alloy content, primarily tungsten or molybdenum, and little amounts of chromium, vanadium, and cobalt.
  • High carbon content with a minimum of 0.65% by weight and is in the range from 0.8% to 1.5% carbon content.
  • Rockwell hardness of at least 65 HRC at room temperature.


Ceramics or oxide cutting tools are basically Aluminium oxide materials. Ceramics have very high compressive strength, low heat conductivity, and high abrasive resistance. Ceramics are harder than carbides but they will break easily when the bending or twisting loads is applied. Ceramic tools are used to machine the cast iron, and carbon steels, and for finishing hard stills at high speed. The material composition of ceramic tools is as follows:

•Aluminium oxide= 90%
•Chromium oxide= 10%

  • It can withstand a temperature of 1700 degrees Celcius
  • High cutting speed
  • Elimination of any unbalanced force
  • Highly surface finish on the cutting tool
  • The rigidity of the tool and workpiece

Plain carbon and alloy steels

Plain carbon steel or carbon steel is a metal alloy and combination of two elements carbon and iron. Carbon steel is divided into three main subcategories.

  • High carbon Steel
  • Medium Carbon Steel
  • Low carbon Steel

In carbon steel, there is up to 2.1% of carbon by weight. The maximum manganese, silicon, and copper content should be less than 1.6%, 0.6%, and 0.6% by weight respectively. Carbon steel can be produced from the virgin stain or recycled stain or a combination of both.

Cemented Carbide

cemented carbides are a family of tour materials that are made from carbides of titanium pendulum tungsten or a combination of all these elements. Carbides are powder metals consisting of carbides with a binder usually Cobalt and when hot pressed, they sintered into the desired shape. All the carbides are having high hardness value and resistance to wear. It is mainly used at a higher cutting speed. The
composition of material like that:
•Tungsten= 82%
•Titanium carbide= 10%
•Cobalt= 8%

Synthetic Diamond

diamonds are The hardest substance but it has limited use as a tool material. Diamonds are used for turning tools grinding will dress and grinding Wheels. These are frequently used for turning plastics non far as metals and general finishing operations with high cutting speeds or and find feeds. Washing and lapping are done by the diamond powder. It is usually applied as a coating (0.5 mm thick) on the WC-Co insert.

CBN (Cubic Boron Nitrides)

CBN (Cubic Boron Nitrides) is similar to Diamonds and used for grinding and cutting wheels. It can be used on Non-ferrous materials. It can be used at higher cutting speeds and for hardened ferrous materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are cutting tool materials properties?

Cutting tools should have the following properties: Hardness, toughness, wear-resistance and impact resistance.

What is the most common cutting tool materials?

High-Speed Steel
Plain carbon and alloy steels
Cemented carbides
Synthetic diamond

Also, read about slip gauges

References Wikipedia