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What We Should Know About Precipitation Hardening Steel 17-4PH

A heat hardening mechanism that is used to form highly strengthened, corrosion-free metals from the combination of alloys and elements is known as Precipitation Hardening.

Precipitation hardening stainless steels are results of an optimal combination of martensitic and austenitic metallic structures. PHSS comprises chromium as a martensitic grade and nickel as an austenitic grade with an addition of other elements.

Precipitation hardening stainless steels merge the qualities and properties of martensitic and austenitic grades. Precipitation hardening stainless steels are known to be hard, strong, wear-resistant, and heat-resistant steels. Precipitation hardening is a heat treatment procedure that chromium and nickel undergo which is made effective when one or more of these elements are incorporated -Aluminium (Al), Copper(Cu), Titanium(Ti), Molybdenum (Mo), or Niobium (Nb).

There are many varieties of precipitation hardening stainless steels but the most outstanding is the 17-4PH steel. The mechanical properties of the 17-4PH stainless steel comprise percentages of chromium, nickel including other alloy elements. 17-4PH is made up of 4% of nickel, 17% of chromium, 4% of copper, 0.3% of niobium. Other elements are added to secure the hardening of the 17-4PH steel. As a result of the combination, the 17-4PH / AISI 630 is fortified with high resistance to corrosion and oxidation, highly strengthened with simple heat treatment with no loss toughness and ductility. A variant name for 17-4PH is AISI 630 stainless steel grade. Precipitation hardening steels can be rendered with minimal distortion since it can withstand lowered and room temperature heating treatment. This process is known as aging hardening.

Stainless Steels and Descriptions

Precipitation hardening steels are subdivided into three categories based on the reaction of their heating procedure. They include martensitic, semi-austenitic, and austenitic PH steels. 17-4PH, 17-7PH, and A286 are examples of these categories respectively.

Invulnerable to corrosion

In varied climates, the PHSS survives corrosion that is, such steels are highly resistant to rust. On exceptions, the 17-4PH steels are prone to rust that may result in crevices and cracks but when aged with 550°c there’s a tendency for a reduced rust level.

The higher the aging temperature the higher the resistance to corrosion and oxidation.

Heat resistance

When 17-4 PH stainless steels are not subjected to over pre-heating, the mechanical properties can be maintained and oxidation resistance increased. Precipitation heating should be lower than 370°c-480°c, going beyond this degree can lead to damage to the steel.

Assembling precautions

To avoid cross-contamination and discoloration of steel surfaces, it is critical to observe these precautions. Before fabrication of any stainless steel l, ensure that the working surfaces are kept tidy. It is particularly crucial to make use of the proper tools in the fabrication process.


Precipitation hardening stainless steels can be tempered at any stage. They can be rolled, bent, and formed when in a cold process. Cold working must immediately be followed with a re-aging heat treatment to further strengthen the PHSS.


950°c-1200°c is the required heat working temperature of any PHSS. The annealing should be completed at a lower or room temperature to obtain and maintain the normal properties of the steel.


17-4PH can be fabricated with the help of machines when in the annealing state but relatively difficult when full heat treatment has been achieved.

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