As more and more knife companies adopt Chinese-made steels, the public has become more and more curious about the quality of these steels. In particular, many people are interested in 7cr17mov, a commonly used steel in budget knives.
While most knife steels will perform adequately for most tasks, there are some clear advantages and disadvantages to 7Cr17MoV that knife users should note. For instance, it has the hardness of high carbon steel but lacks the toughness of some of the more expensive alloys. It doesn’t offer the best edge retention but shines when it comes to corrosion resistance.
Read on to discover more about the composition and properties of 7Cr17MoV stainless steel and its strengths as a knife.
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What is 7Cr17MoV?
7Cr17MoV is a type of stainless steel produced in China. It’s a modified version of the 440A steel but has additional vanadium (V) elements that further increase its hardness and wear resistance.
Unlike other stainless steel, it has relatively high chromium, giving it its signature anti-corrosion properties. It’s a martensitic steel, meaning it underwent rapid quenching during production. Knife manufacturers use the 7Cr17mov steel when making survival knives and other outdoor knives.
It can withstand more abuse and wear than other types of steel; however, you may still spot it used in some kitchen knives.
Below is the composition of 7Cr17MoV stainless steel that makes it a good choice for outdoor knives:
The carbon in 7Cr17MoV gives the steel its hardness. It also enhances durability and wear resistance. The steel’s 17% to 18% chromium protects it against corrosion, while the 1% silicon gives it strength.
For machinability, 7Cr17MoV has a molybdenum content of 0.75%. Molybdenum and sulfur also increase the steel’s strength. The manganese enhances hardness while the phosphorus increases strength and toughness.
7Cr17MoV characteristics: How is it as a kitchen knife steel?
The individual elements of 7Cr17MoV give it some interesting characteristics. With the detailed chemical composition, we can elucidate the properties of the steel and establish whether it’s any good for knives.
7Cr17MoV has a Rockwell hardness of 60 HRC. The high carbon, chromium, and presence of vanadium elements give it high hardness. This attribution makes it a good choice for outdoor knives that see a lot of abuse. While it’s not as hard as some of the more expensive alloys, it’s still harder than most high-carbon steels.
First off, steel toughness and hardness are two different things. Steel can be hard but brittle and thus not tough—the hardness of steel measures its resistance to deformation and its ability to resist fracture.
7Cr17MoV steel is hard steel, which means it’s relatively not as tough. However, it’s still tough enough for most survival knives and other outdoor knives. It can withstand tough outdoor conditions and repeated use without chipping or breaking.
Due to the presence of sulfur and phosphorus, there’s increased brittleness, leading to reduced edge retention. It’s not the best in this department, but it’s still good enough for most users. The additional vanadium and high carbon content mean that the steel is hard enough to resist deformation and wear, but it will still require regular sharpening.
7Cr17MoV contains 17% chromium, which is relatively high compared to other stainless steel. Chromium enhances the ability of the steel to resist corrosion, and with the high amounts in 7Cr17MoV, the steel is capable of fighting stains, rusting, and other corrosion.
Ease of sharpening
7Cr17MoV isn’t the hardest steel, which means it’s relatively easy to sharpen. Beginners and those with less experience in knife sharpening can still get a good edge on this steel. However, it will require regular sharpening to maintain its edge.
7Cr17MoV vs. other steel
Below is a comparison of 7Cr17MoV steel with other popular knife steels.
7Cr17MoV vs. 440A steel
440A and 7Cr17MoV are highly similar in terms of elements and composition. Both have a high carbon and chromium content, which gives them good hardness and corrosion resistance. The main difference between the two is the additional vanadium content in 7Cr17MoV.
7Cr17MoV vs. AUS-8
AUS-8 is Japanese steel. It has better corrosion resistance and edge retention than 7Cr17MoV. AUS-8 is tougher than 7Cr17MoV but sharpening it is more difficult. Both knives have an almost similar hardness level on the Rockwell scale. AUS-8 has a hardness of 59 HRC, while 7Cr17MoV has a hardness of 60 HRC. The difference in hardness is not significant, and both steels are considered hard steel.
9Cr18MoV is also Chinese steel. It’s pretty similar to 7Cr17MoV, with a few small differences. 9Cr18MoV is tougher than 7Cr17MoV and has better edge retention. 9Cr18MoV doesn’t have the hardness of 7Cr17MoV, but both steels offer great corrosion resistance.
7Cr17MoV is a good steel for outdoor knives and other knives that see heavy use. It boasts excellent corrosion and wear resistance. Additionally, it’s tough enough to withstand tough outdoor conditions. While it doesn’t have the best edge retention, it’s still good enough for most users. It’s also relatively easy to sharpen.
Check out our blog for more details about stainless steel knives and tips on how to sharpen and care for them. Visit our store for a range of high-quality kitchen knives that will change how you cook.