CPM 20CV steel is super-premium stainless steel produced by crucible industries following the Crucible Powder Metallurgy process.
This trademark process ensures even distribution of fine carbides, enhancing this steel’s toughness and wear resistance.
CPM 20CV powder steel is recorded to have the highest Chromium elements among all stainless steels on the market, which translates to excellent corrosion resistance features.
What’s more, it has high amounts of Vanadium elements in its composition and, therefore offers extreme levels of wear resistance.
It is used to make premium knives, mold cavities, barrel liners, and screw tips.
CPM 20CV steel composition
- Carbon C 1.90%: Increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion.
- Chromium Cr 20.00%: Formation of Chromium carbide Increases hardness, tensile strength and corrosion resistance of the blade. Highest chromium content added in any stainless steel.
- Molybdenum Mo 1.00%: It improves machinability and hardness.
- Vanadium V 4.00%: Increase wear resistance and toughness, it also improves corrosion resistance. High vanadium content enables formation of Vanadium Carbide giving 20CV steel an edge over other steel in wear resistance.
- Tungsten W 0.60% Improves wear resistance and hardness, mostly added to tool steel.
- Manganese Mn 0.30%: Increases Hardness and brittleness.
- Silicon Si 0.30%: Increases strength and heat resistance.
Properties of CPM 20CV steel
CPM 20CV hardness is 58-61HRC as per the Rockwell hardness scale, but the high hardness rating differs with the heat treatment used by the manufacturer.
The hardness range of this steel is the same as many other types of premium stainless steel on the market, making it a good choice for knife makers.
20CV Wear resistance
CPM 20CV steel is recognized for its excellent wear resistance. This feature is associated with the high vanadium carbides and chromium carbides in its composition.
With its hardness level, knives made from this steel offer outstanding resistance to applications that may cause it to wear or tear.
CPM 20CV knives will serve you across generations without losing their original shape, even when used regularly for tough applications.
20CV Edge retention
Another recommendable property of this 20CV steel is its edge holding capabilities. It remains sharp for long, taking away the burden of frequent sharpening.
The ability to hold an edge longer is associated with high amounts of fine grains of vanadium which closely hold together for a fine edge, in addition to molybdenum and tungsten in its composition.
20CV Corrosion resistance
The corrosion resistance of 20CV is unmatched because it contains the most high chromium content among stainless steels. When the chromium and molybdenum in its composition combine, it offers outstanding resistance against rusting.
If you are in the market for a knife to be used in a highly corrosive environment, you will never go wrong with CPM 20CV stainless steel knife varieties.
Hard steels with excellent corrosion resistance tend to offer poor toughness in the steel world, but our steel of the day is different.
CPM 20CV steel features high toughness-producing knives that will not chip or break easily.
There are tougher steels out there, but this steel gives its knives enough toughness to withstand everyday usage.
Is CPM 20CV hard to sharpen ?
The high amounts of vanadium carbide in this CPM 20CV steel make it very hard to sharpen. It will retain its edge for long, but achieving that edge takes a lot of time and energy.
Without the right sharpening skills, getting a razor-sharp edge with steel is challenging; luckily, you do not have to sharpen daily.
CPM 20CV steel comparison
20CV steel vs m390
Both 20CV steel and Bohler m390 steel are super steels produced following the powder metallurgy, and most of their properties are similar.
They offer the same level of edge retention, toughness, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpening.
CPM 20CV vs S90V
S90V steel is another super steel produced by crucible industries. Both CPM steel types offer excellent edge retention properties.
However, CPM 20CV blade steel offers better toughness, corrosion resistance, and it is easier to sharpen. S90V, on the other hand, shines in wear resistance.
Is CPM 20CV steel good for knives?
CPM 20CV has all the features of super steel and making it a perfect knife steel. It strikes an excellent balance in toughness, edge retention, high wear resistance and high corrosion resistance.
The only downside is that it is hard to sharpen. However, use of proper sharpening tools will not be a problem for this blade steel.
Related Reading: 20CV Vs S30V: Which Is Better?
My name is Jonathan M, and I’m a passionate Mechanical Engineer, a knife enthusiast, and the author of this website. I have a bachelor's degree in Mechanical engineering with a specialization in material science. I am particularly interested in researching knife steel, knife properties, and brands. I hope you will find value in the articles on this website. Contact me if you have any questions or input!