Alloys Steel – P20 / 1.2311

Alloys Steel – P20 / 1.2311 | ASTM A681 | UNS T51620

P20/1.2311(UNS T5160)

Low-carbon mold steels or group P steels are of different types that include P2, P3, P4, P5, P6, P20, and P21 steels. Chromium and nickel are the main alloying elements found in group P steels.

P20 tool steels are nitrided or carburized. These steels are capable of being machined into complex and large dies and molds. P20 steels are mostly used in the carburized condition. The presence of chromium and nickel enhances the toughness and hardness of P20 steels.

The sections below provide an overview of P20 tool steels.

Chemical Composition

The chemical composition of P20 tool steels is outlined in the following table..

Element Content (%)
C 0.28-0.40
Mn 0.60-1.00
Si 0.20-0.80
Cr 1.40-2.00
Mo 0.30-0.55
Cu 0.25
P 0.03
S 0.03

Physical Properties

The following table shows the physical properties of P20 tool steels.

Properties Metric Imperial
Density 7.85 g/cc 0.284 lb/in3


P20 tool steels are tempered at 482-593°C (900 to 1100°F) for a Rockwell C hardness of 37 to 28.


Annealing takes place at 760-788°C (1400 to 1450°F) and then the steels are cooled slowly in the furnace at a temperature less than 4°C (40°F) per hour.

Cold Working

P20 tool steels are capable of being readily cold worked by using conventional tooling methods with the alloy in the annealed condition.

Mechanical Properties

The mechanical properties of P20 tool steels are displayed in the following table.

Properties Metric Imperial
Hardness, Brinell (typical) 300 33
Hardness, Rockwell C (typical) 30 30
Tensile strength, ultimate 965-1030 MPa 140000-150000 psi
Tensile strength, yield 827-862 MPa 120000-125000 psi
Elongation at break (in 50 mm (2″)) 20.0% 20.0%
Compressive strength 862 MPa 125000 psi
Charpy impact (V-Notch) 27.1-33.9 J 20.0-25.0 ft-lb
Poisson’s ratio 0.27-0.30 0.27-0.30
Elastic modulus 190-210 GPa 27557-30457 ksi


P20 tool steels are forged at 1093°C (2000°F) down to 899°C (1650°F). Forging below 871°C (1600°F) is not recommended for these steels.


P20 tool steels can be readily formed by conventional methods in the annealed condition.


P20 tool steels have excellent machinability at about 80% that of water hardening steels.

Heat Treatment

P20 tool steels are heated to 871-899°C (1600-1650°F) in the carburizing medium during the carburizing process. After being carburized, these steels are heated to 816-871°C (1500-1600°F) in order to be hardened and then held for 15 minutes and finally oil quenched.

Thermal Properties

The thermal properties of P20 tool steels are given in the following table.

Properties Conditions
T (°C) Treatment
Thermal expansion 12.8 x 10-6/ºC 20-425


Conventional methods are used for welding of P20 tool steels.


P20 tool steels are used for low temperature applications that include injection molds and die casting dies.


  • ASTM A681
  • UNS T51620


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