Understand the F and thorough hardening of wear-resistant steel

AR400 VS. AR450 VS. AR500 – UNDERSTANDING ABRASION RESISTANT STEEL

Abrasion Resistant Steel Plate

In the world of construction and fabrication, the choice of steel plate material significantly influences the final product's quality and durability. Abrasion resistant (AR) steel plate is renowned for its exceptional hardness and toughness, lasting approximately four times longer than standard high-strength structural steel plates.

But what exactly enhances its toughness, and how can you determine if your project necessitates the use of abrasion resistant steel?

This guide delves into the intricacies of abrasion resistant steel plate, exploring the differences between AR400, AR450, AR500, and beyond. Additionally, for any specific needs, you can reach out to Steel Friend for a customized quote on abrasion resistant plates.

ABRASION RESISTANT STEEL

WHAT IS ABRASION RESISTANT STEEL PLATE?

Abrasion resistant (AR) steel plate is a high-carbon alloy steel plate. The inclusion of carbon makes the AR plate harder, while the added alloys enhance its formability and weather resistance.

The carbon content in the steel plate significantly boosts its toughness and hardness, though at the cost of reduced strength. Therefore, AR plates are ideal for applications where wear and abrasion are the primary concerns, such as industrial manufacturing, mining, construction, and material handling. They are not recommended for structural uses like support beams in bridges or buildings.

Common applications for AR steel to combat material wear include:

  • Conveyors
  • Buckets
  • Dump liners
  • Construction attachments (e.g., bulldozers, excavators)
  • Grates
  • Chutes
  • Hoppers

HOW THE QUENCHED & TEMPERED PROCESS CREATES AR PLATE

The production of AR material involves quenching and tempering forged steel blocks or ingots. This process alters the grain structure to enhance toughness and formability, resulting in through-hardening of the material.

Quenching and Tempering Process:

  1. Quenching: Steel is heated to a high temperature (usually between 1,500-1,650°F) and then rapidly cooled with water. This causes the formation of crystal structures within the steel, increasing its hardness.
  2. Tempering: The quenched steel is reheated to a below-critical temperature (around 300-700°F) and then allowed to cool in normal air. This step breaks down some of the crystal structures formed during quenching, allowing new structures to form, which retain most of the strength and hardness while enhancing ductility.

WHAT’S WITH THE "F"?

ABRASION RESISTANT STEEL WHAT’S WITH THE F

Abrasion resistant steel is often labeled "AR400F," "AR450F," or "AR500F." The "F" indicates that the steel is formable and can be bent without cracking. Historically, formable steel was slightly more expensive than non-formable steel, but today, formable AR steel is more common due to decreased demand and competitive pricing.

WHAT IS THROUGH-HARDENING?

WHAT IS THROUGH-HARDENING

Through-hardening refers to the process where the entire steel plate undergoes a change in composition during the initial heating stage of quenching and tempering, resulting in uniform hardness throughout. This differs from case-hardening, where only the surface hardens, leaving the inner metal softer.

AR400 VERSUS AR450 VERSUS AR500+

The main difference between AR400, AR450, and AR500 lies in their Brinell Hardness Number (BHN), which measures the material's hardness. Here's a breakdown of the typical BHN ranges:

GradeBrinell Hardness Number (BHN)
AR400360-440
AR450430-480
AR500460-544
AR600570-625

HARDNESS & WEAR RESISTANCE

Applications requiring materials that can withstand extreme wear and stress, such as mining equipment and concrete handling, typically utilize AR500 or AR600 plates. These are among the hardest AR grades, offering superior wear resistance.

For applications needing moderate wear resistance, such as construction equipment, AR400 and AR450 are more suitable. They balance durability with other desirable material properties like ductility.

FORMABILITY & MACHINABILITY

Projects involving AR materials often need a balance between hardness and brittleness. Generally, as hardness increases, brittleness also increases, making the material harder to form, shape, and weld. AR400 and AR450 provide a good balance of hardness and formability, making them relatively machinable and weldable.

For projects demanding high durability, AR500 and AR600 are preferred due to their longevity, though they are more challenging to form and machine.

MATERIAL COST

Abrasion resistant steel plates generally cost more than high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) or mild carbon steel grades. However, their enhanced durability and resistance to wear can lead to long-term cost savings due to less frequent replacements.

The grade of AR steel impacts the cost, with higher BHNs (e.g., AR500, AR600) typically being more expensive than lower BHNs (e.g., AR400, AR450). Other factors like order size and market conditions also influence pricing.

AR MEDIUM STEEL

While AR400+ grades are the most commonly used types of abrasion resistant steel, AR Medium grades, such as AR200 and AR235, are also utilized for applications requiring moderate wear resistance. These grades have a surface hardness of 180-260 BHN, suitable for applications needing more wear resistance than standard mild carbon steel but not as high as those needing AR400+ grades.

Understanding the different grades of abrasion resistant steel and their specific applications can help in selecting the right material for your project. Whether you need the high wear resistance of AR500 or the balanced properties of AR400, choosing the correct grade ensures optimal performance and longevity.


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