Everything You Need To Know About H13 Tool Steel

H13 Tool Steel

The AISI classification scheme categorizes chromium-hot-work tool steels as group H steels. This sequence of steels varies between H1 and H19.

These steels are designed to withstand the conditions of high pressure, heat, and abrasion that occur in various production units. Such operations are carried on at extreme temperature ranges include shearing, punching, or shaping metals.

The balanced alloy contents and air-hardness characteristic of these steels can induce minimal distortion during hardening. Most steels consist of low carbon and alloy composition so that tools made from these steels can undergo easy cooling.

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    What is H13 Tool Steel?

    H13 Hot-work chromium steel is commonly used for hot and cold work tooling applications. H13 tool steel is used more than any other tool steel in tooling applications because of its excellent combination of high toughness and fatigue resistance.

    Most widely used in plastic molds and die casting, its capacity to endure rapid cooling from high operating temperatures also makes it a top option for thermoplastic dies.

    Available Variants:

    1. Electro Slag Remelted (ESR)
    2. Vacuum-Arc-Remelted (VAR)

    Steel mills typically follow the smelting processes for high-quality tool steel such as furnace processing, vacuum cleaning, vacuum smelting,
    powder spraying and electro slag re-melting to reduce the content of toxic elements such as oxygen, hydrogen and steel inclusions.

    Chemical Composition

    In terms of chemical composition, H13 tool steel includes Carbon in the range as 0.35-0.45, Chromium as 4.75-5.50, Molybdenum as 1.10-1.75, Manganese as 0.20-0.50, Vanadium as 0.80-1.20, Silicon 0.80-1.20, Phosphorus as 0.030 and Sulfur as 0.030 at the max. Temperatures for various operations carried on such as annealing range from 1550 to 1650 °F, 1825-1900 °F for hardening, 1000-1200°F for tempering and 38-53 °F for Rockwell C.

    Physical Properties

    Physical properties of H13 tool steel comprise of its density and melting point. The density is recorded as 7.80 g/cm3 for 20°C, while melting point is recorded as 1427 °C.

    Mechanical Properties

    H13 tool steel in terms of its mechanical properties tends to show a behavior that varies with heat treatment. H13 tool steel records a reduction of area as 50% and modulus of elasticity as 215 GPa at 20 °C. The ranges for tensile strength in terms of ultimate and yield vary as 1000-1380 MPa and 1200-1590 MPa respectively. Value of Poisson’s ratio is recorded in the range of 0.27-0.30.

    Thermal Properties

    In terms of thermal properties, the expansion is recorded as 10.4 x 10-6/°C while temperature ranges from 20-100 °C. H13 tool steel has a thermal conductivity of 28.6 W/mK at 215 °C.

    Advantages of H13 Tool Steel

    H13 tool steel outperforms steel alloys such as 4140 in terms of better hardenability and its associated mechanical properties. Some common advantages include:

    • High heat resistance review.
    • Excellent Thermal to Shock Resistance.
    • Strong stability on scale.
    • Strong toughness to the color.

    Common Application Examples

    H13 tool steel finds its applications in extrusion and plastic molding. The part involves dies, backers, die-holders, liners and stems as these are copper alloys with rich aluminium and magnesium content. As a plastic modeling tool, it is used in compression of injection molds and transfer molds with an HRC of 50-52. H13 Is an outstanding die steel for die casting and also employed successfully for slides and cores in tool assemblies.

     Other applications include:

    • Ejector pins for injection mold
    • Inserts and core pins for injection mold
    • Cavities for Casting Dies
    • Forging and Extrusion Dies
    • Plastic Mold Cavities
    • Perishability
    • Shrunk rings (cemented carbide dies)
    • Wear-resisting parts
    • Shot sleeves for Die Casting
    • Trimming dies

    Materials With Similar Properties To H13 Steel

    Other designations that are equivalent to H13 tool steels include:

    • AFNOR Z 40 COV 5
    • DIN 1.2344
    • UNI KU
    • JIS SKD61
    • SS 2242
    • S. BH 13
    • ASTM A681
    • FED QQ-T-570
    • SAE J437
    • SAE J438
    • SAE J467
    • UNS T20813
    • AMS 6408


    H13 tool steel in the hardness ranges from 45/52 HRC is an excellent steel for plastic molds. It takes a high polish, making it suitable for lens and dinner ware molds.

    In comparison, H11 tool steel consists of less vanadium than the commonly used H13 hot work tool steel. This makes H11 steels capable of higher toughness, with some reduction in wear resistance and temper resistance.

    Their compositions are almost the same, and have the almost same performance.

    The steel grade H13 refers to the standard ASTM A681, America Standard which covers the chemical, mechanical and physical specifications for the wrought alloy tool steel products available. Steel grade 1.2344 is part of the German Standard DIN 17350 / DIN EN ISO 4957. The relevant grade name for steel is X40CrMoV5-This standard is implemented in cold-drawn, hot rolled, forged alloys. Tools made of hot-work tool steels from H13, 1.2344 or SKD61 are not only subject to continuously high temperatures when used, but also to varying thermal loads where the surfaces of the tool interact with the materials to be produced.

    Almost the same performance.

    Grade SKD61 is used in standard JIS G4404, Japan Standard. In hot-rolled or alloy tool steel that was made by forging, the JIS G4404 steel standard is applied. This standard also refers to ISO 4957.


    It is quite important to apply surface treatment processes on H13 tool steel in order to improve mechanical properties, especially at higher temperatures. In conclusion, good hardness, as well as blend of shock and abrasion resistance, makes H13 tools steel a great choice for tooling applications.


    Subscribe Newsletter

    Join 58,978 Subscribers

    Get exclusive access to new tips, articles, guides, technologies, and more.