What is SRS13 steel?


What is SRS13 Steel?

SRS13 steel is a high speed stainless steel developed by Nachi-Fujikoshi following the powder metallurgy process. SRS13 steel contains high carbon content in its composition, the steel offers excellent edge retention and sharpness.

SRS13 also contains high chromium contents making it stainless steel, leaving little for corrosion and rust.

SRS-13 stainless steel is a favorite for knife makers and knife users who want high-performance knives with the ability to cope with corrosion. SRS13 is highly similar to SRS15 but has slightly less carbon.  To help you understand more about SRS13 steel, below are its properties.

SRS13 Steel Composition

  • Carbon C 1.3%: Increases the edge retention, hardness, and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion, and corrosion.
  • Chromium Cr 13.00%: Chromium Increases the hardness, tensile strength, and corrosion resistance of a blade.
  • Tungsten W 1.25%: used as an alloying ingredient due to its high melting point, hence improving the performance of steel in high heat.
  • Vanadium V 1.50%: 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.
  • Manganese Mn 0.30%:  improves the strength and hardness of steel. When the steel is heat-treated, hardenability is improved with increased manganese.
  • Molybdenum Mo 2.75%: increases toughness, corrosion resistance and hot hardness. It also improves hardenability and forms carbides for wear resistance a
  • Silicon Si 0.30%: Increases strength and heat resistance.

Properties of SRS13 steel

SRS 13 Steel Hardness

SRS13 has a high hardness of 64HRC as per the Rockwell hardness scale. This is high hardness and is associated with the high Carbon amounts in its composition. As with other high carbon steels, SRS13 offers excellent knife steel properties like high edge retention and wear resistance. 

SRS 13 Steel Edge retention

Edge retention describes the ability of steel to hold a sharp edge, and SRS13 steel offers excellent edge retention. Knife enthusiasts love knives with excellent edge retention because they do not have to spend a lot of time in frequent sharpening.

If you are looking for a knife that can maintain a fine edge even after a handful of uses, look into the varieties of SRS13 stainless steel.

SRS 13 Steel Corrosion resistance

Corrosion resistance is the ability of steel to fight and resist corrosion caused by external factors, and in steel, corrosion resistance is mostly determined by the amount of chromium in its composition.

SRS13 steel is stainless steel as it contains high chromium contents (13%) to make it stainless steel. After the formation of carbides, the remaining free chromium atoms are able to fight corrosion.

Therefore, if you are looking for a knife that can survive areas with high humidity, moisture, and salty water, the varieties of SRS13 knives will not disappoint you as they do not rust or develop patina easily.

However, the steel is not 100% corrosion resistant. This means that it requires proper care and especially when exposed to a corrosive environment. You can prevent corrosion further by applying a coat of mineral oil on the blades after use.

SRS 13 Steel Wear resistance

Like any other material, steel is exposed to abrasion and adhesive wear with regular use. Wear resistance in steel measures the ability of steel to resist wear, and it is determined by the amount of carbon and chromium in its composition.

Because of the high Carbon and Chromium in its composition, SRS13 offers great wear resistance. SRS13 knives will serve for a long even across generations because the blades do not wear out fast.

SRS 13 Steel Toughness

The toughness of steel measures its ability to withstand forces and impacts that might cause it to crack, chip or break. As a rule of thumb in steel, the toughness reduces with increased hardness. Having already said that SRS13 steel offers high hardness, it is no surprise that it does not score the best in toughness.

Although it has low toughness, it is not the worst out there. It can still be used in tough applications but be careful not to expose blades made from this steel to very tough tasks like batoning.

Ease of sharpening SRS 13 Steel

Irrespective of how long steel can hold a sharp edge, it surely gets dull at some point and requires sharpening. The ease of sharpening of steel is directly influenced by its hardness and wear resistance properties and therefore sharpening SRS13 is a challenging task.

It will take you a lot of time and energy to get a sharp edge in this steel, and it is even harder for knife users without seasoned knife sharpening skills. The good news is the blade holds a sharp edge longer; therefore, you do not have to go through many challenging sharpening sessions.

SRS13 Steel Comparison

SRS13 vs SRS15

SRS13 steel performs similarly to SRS15 steel, but SRS15 contains more carbon. This means that SRS15 offers higher hardness, edge retention, and wear resistance than SRS13 steel.

On the other hand, SRS13 stainless steel offers better corrosion resistance because it has more free Chromium atoms to fight corrosion after the formation of carbides, SRS13  is alsoeasier to sharpen than SRS15 stainless steel.

SRS13 vs VG10

The main difference between SRS13 steel and VG10 steel is that SRS13 is a powder metallurgy produced steel with a fine carbide structure than VG10 steel which is conventionally produced. SRS13 steel is better steel than VG10 steel in terms of edge retention and ease of sharpening. 

The fine carbide structure of SRS13 enables it to attain higher hardness suitable for edge retention while at the same time making it easier to sharpen when the need arises.  this is different from VG10 which forms large hard carbides good in edge retention but hectic to sharpen.

VG10 stainless steel offers relatively better corrosion resistance than SRS13 stainless steel due to the high amount of chromium in its composition. The difference is not that big as SRS13 contains more Molybdenum elements which also greatly improve corrosion resistance.

Both SRS13 and VG10 will offer you an almost similar level of toughness in a real-world application. Either of these two knife steel will give you great performance but SRS13 is newer steel that is easier to sharpen.

Is SRS13 good knife steel?

Looking at its properties, SRS13 is excellent knife steel. It offers excellent edge retention, great wear resistance, decent toughness, and is resistant to corrosion.

The only downside is that it offers moderate toughness, SRS13 knife is thus not suitable for cutting through bones.

You can find SRS13 stainless steel in most Japanese knives, however, it is a bit more expensive than other carbon steel due to its low maintenance. Its performance is slightly better than that of VG10 steel in edge retention and ease of sharpening.

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