What is Nitrobe 77 Steel?

Nitrobe 77 steel is a high Nitrogen martensitic stainless steel with Niobium in its composition. It is manufactured following the Powder Metallurgy process, which gives it high strength and finer grain structure,  Nitrobe 77  steel is produced by Damasteel.

Nitrobe 77 is stainless steel because it contains 14.50% chromium which is more than the required chromium amounts to make steel stainless. The nitrogen in its alloy composition also positively boosts the corrosion resistance of Nitrobe 77 steel.

Nitrobe 77 stainless steel is excellent in terms of edge retention and corrosion resistance, it is used in the manufacture of kitchen knives, camping knives, and hunting knives.

Nitrobe 77 Steel Composition

  • Carbon C 0.10%: Increases edge retention, hardness, and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion, and corrosion.
  • Chromium Cr 14.50%: The formation of Chromium carbide Increases the hardness, tensile strength, and corrosion resistance of the blade.
  • Nitrogen N 0.90%: Increases hardness and corrosion resistance and hardness
  • Molybdenum Mo 3.00%: It improves corrosion resistance, machinability, and hardness.
  • Vanadium V 0.10%: inhibits grain growth during elevated temperature processing and heat treatment, which enhances the strength and toughness of steel. It also forms carbides that increase wear resistance.
  • Niobium Nb 0.5%: It is added to form fine grain structure regardless of the hardening temperature.

Properties of Nitrobe 77 steel

Nitrobe 77 Steel Hardness

Nitrobe 77 steel has a Rockwell hardness of 58 to 62 HRC, the exact hardness depends on the heat treatment used by the knife manufacturer. The heat treatment technique dictates the hardness, wear resistance, toughness as well as corrosion resistance. 

Nitrobe 77 Steel Edge retention

Edge retention is a significant factor of consideration in knife steel, and it is directly affected by the hardness of steel. Nitrobe 77 steel offers good edge retention, allowing you to use the knives for a long time without sharpening. The edge retention is associated with the high hardness and the combination of carbon and nitrogen in its composition.

Nitrobe 77 steel edge retention is comparable to that of Niolox Steel and CPM 3V steel. The edge retention of Nitrobe is not the best on the market because it does not have very many hard carbides, but it does not require you to keep sharpening the blades after every use.

Nitrobe 77 Steel Wear resistance

The wear resistance of steel is directly proportional to its hardness. With a hardness of 60 HRC, Nitrobe 77 offers great hardness but is not as high as that of other premium steel like M390 Steel.

Nitrobe 77 knives will serve you for a long time, but the exact level of abrasion resistance depends on the heat treatment used by the knife manufacturer. Nevertheless, the wear resistance of Nitrobe 77 blades can withstand everyday wear and abrasion.

Nitrobe 77 Steel Edge retention

Edge retention is a significant factor of consideration in knife steel, and it is directly affected by the hardness of steel. Nitrobe 77 steel offers good edge retention, allowing you to use the knives for a long time without sharpening. The edge retention is associated with the high hardness and the combination of carbon and nitrogen in its composition.

Nitrobe 77 steel edge retention is comparable to that of Niolox Steel and CPM 3V steel. The edge retention of Nitrobe is not the best on the market because it does not have very many hard carbides, but it does not require you to keep sharpening the blades after every use.

Nitrobe 77 Steel Toughness

The toughness of most steels tends to be inversely proportional to the hardness. Because it is not very hard steel, Nitrobe 77 offers good toughness. The low amounts of hard carbides in their composition contribute to its toughness compared to steel with many hard, brittle carbides.

Nitrobe 77 is not brittle; the knives can withstand impact and stress without breaking, chipping, or cracking. The toughness of Nitrobe 77 steel makes it a good choice for the manufacture of hunting and camping knives. Its toughness is in the range of other steels like Sandvik 13C26, 14C28N, and AEB-L stainless steel.

Nitrobe 77 Steel Corrosion resistance

Nitrobe 77 is stainless steel and offers excellent corrosion resistance. The high corrosion resistance is associated with the production process, which replaces carbon with nitrogen as a martensite initiator in the hardening process. 

A higher temperature tempering will yield less corrosion resistance, while a lower temperature tempering will yield a higher corrosion resistance. Nitrobe 77 knives can be used in highly corrosive environments without rusting; Damasteel states that Nitrobe 77 knives are dishwasher safer. 

Nitrobe 77 corrosion resistance is equal to that of LC200N steel, Cronidur 30, and H1 steel. LC200N steel is the closest steel in production to Nitrobe, which is also high nitrogen steel also regarded as rust proof. 

Ease of sharpening

Nitrobe 77 is easy to sharpen as it is not very hard steel and has a fine microstructure. The blades attain a razor-sharp edge very fast without the need for highly abrasive sharpening tools or seasoned sharpening skills.

Maintaining Nitrobe 77 knives is easy because the blade holds a sharp edge for a long time, and therefore, there is no hustle of sharpening the blades frequently. Sharpening the blade is also easy due to the fine grain microstructure.

Nitrobe 77 steel comparison

Nitrobe 77 vs H1 steel

Nitrobe 77 and H1 steel are Nitrogen based knife steels and offer great corrosion resistance, there is no significant difference between Nitrobe 77 and H1 steel in terms of corrosion resistance. Most of the chromium elements in their composition go towards contributing to corrosion resistance

Nitrobe 77 is harder than H1 and provides better wear resistance and edge retention. The higher Rockwell hardness in Nitrobe 77 stainless steel can be attributed to the Powder metallurgy production process that typically results in better steel.

H1 stainless steel is however better than Nitrobe 77 stainless steel in toughness as it is relatively soft at about 58HRC and lacks brittle carbides, carbides are excellent at improving wear resistance and edge retention but significantly lowers toughness of steel.

Nitrobe 77 vs M390 steel

Bohler M390 is a premium knife steel and offers better wear resistance and edge retention than Nitrobe 77 steel. M390 steel was specifically designed to maintain high wear resistance while still maintaining outstanding corrosion resistance.

Nitrobe 77 is better than M390 steel in corrosion resistance, the use of Nitrogen in the manufacture of Nitrobe 77 greatly improves its corrosion resistance over that of M390 steel which hugely relies on chromium elements.

M390 steel has a huge amount of hard carbides that greatly contribute to its edge retention and wear resistance, however, these carbides also undermine M390 steel toughness. Nitrobe 77 has better toughness than M390 steel, the toughness of Nitrobe 77 is more than twice that of M390 steel.

Nitrobe 77 vs Vanax steel

There is no significant difference between Nitrobe 77 and Vanax steel in corrosion resistance, both are nitrogen-based knife steels with excellent corrosion resistance. Vanax steel however boosts its corrosion resistance by having significantly higher Chromium elements than Nitrobe 77 stainless steel. 

The major difference between Nitrobe 77 steel and Vanax steel is that Nitrobe 77 offers twice the toughness of Vanax steel. Nitrobe 77 achieves high toughness due to its fine grain microstructure from the powder metallurgy production process, the addition of Niobium, and the reduction of Vanadium.

Vanax stainless steel offers slightly better edge retention than Nitrobe 77 due to the presence of a high amount of vanadium elements in its alloy composition. Vanadium elements lead to the formation of hard vanadium carbides which are excellent in terms of edge retention. 

Is Nitrobe 77 good knife steel?

Nitrobe 77 steel is a good knife steel; It offers excellent corrosion resistance and toughness. Nitrobe 77 also has good edge retention and is not that hard to sharpen when it becomes dull. With these properties, Nitrobe 77 is well-balanced blade steel and is easy to maintain.

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