CPM S110V steel, widely referred to as S110V, is a premium stainless steel manufactured by crucible industries following the Crucible Particle Metallurgy.
It has high amounts of Carbon, Vanadium, and Niobium in its composition, giving it excellent wear resistance and edge retention capabilities. CPM S110V steel is widely used in making industrial knives, screw elements, circular cutters, and food tools, to mention a few.
However, this steel is not very popular in the knife-making industry because it is hard to work with just like its upgraded counterpart CPM S125V Steel. These two knife steels although providing high wear resistance and edge retention are very difficult to grind.
CPM S110V steel composition
- Carbon C 2.80%: Increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion and corrosion.
- Chromium Cr 15.25%: Formation of Chromium carbide Increases hardness, tensile strength and corrosion resistance of the blade.
- Molybdenum Mo 2.25%: It improves machinability and hardness.
- Vanadium V 9.00%: Increase wear resistance and toughness, it also improves corrosion resistance.
- Niobium Nb 3.00%: Improves toughness of the steel, it is a strong carbide former and forms very hard, very small, simple carbides.
- Cobalt Co 2.50%: Increases the hardness of the steel.
Properties of CPM S110V steel
S110V steel hardness ranges from 64-66HRC according to the Rockwell hardness scale. Note that the hardness differs with the heat treatment used by the manufacturer.
With such high hardness, this steel is very hard, which is associated with high levels of carbon, molybdenum, vanadium, and niobium in its composition. Niobium carbides are tiny but very hard, harder than vanadium carbides, hence the high hardness of this steel.
Being extremely hard steel, we expect that CPM S110V steel offers low toughness, but this is not the case. This steel has high hardness, which is not expected from steel with its level of hardness. It offers a superb balance between hardness and toughness, but it is not the hardest out there.
S110V Wear resistance
Wear resistance is among steel properties positively affected by high hardness. Due to its high hardness, S110V steel offers excellent wear resistance. Knives made from this steel will last long whether used on abrasives or everyday applications.
The credits of the extremely high wear resistance features go to the combination of Niobium, Chromium, and Vanadium elements in its composition.
S110V Edge retention
Another area where this steel shines is in its edge retention. S110V knives remain sharp for longer than most steels on the market. This is expected because of the extreme hardness S110V steel offers and the Vanadium carbides in its composition.
S110V Corrosion resistance
Let’s start by stating that CPM S110V steel is stainless steel because it contains 15% chromium which is higher than the required amounts to make steel stainless.
It offers good corrosion resistance, but we cannot say that it is entirely corrosion-resistant. Knives made from this steel will rust if exposed to corrosive applications or if not properly maintained. Therefore, ensure to clean and dry your knives before storage to protect them from rusting.
One of the main downsides of extremely hard steel types is that they are difficult to sharpen, which is true with S110V. Sharpening S110V steel is very challenging, even with a diamond stone. This is because of the high level of hard carbide content formed in its alloy. Users are advised to take their S110V knives for professional sharpening to avoid the struggle.
The good news is, it remains sharp for long, so you will not be required to spend time on sharpening frequently.
CPM S110V comparison
S30V vs S110V
S110V is considered more premium steel than S3OV. However, S30V offers more balance in toughness, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpening. CPM S110V steel beats S30V steel in edge retention and wear resistance. While S30V cant hold an edge for long like S110V it is much easier to sharpen and offers better toughness than S110V hence less prone to chipping and cracking.
S110V vs. S90V
Both S110V steel and S90V steel contains similar high level of Vanadium content. They offer similar edge retention, ease of sharpening, and corrosion resistance. However, S90V beats its counterpart in toughness.
CPM S110V vs. M390
M390 steel beats S110V in toughness and corrosion resistance, while S110V performs better in edge retention. They offer similar performance when it comes to ease of sharpening. Both M390 and S110V are considered premium steel and none of them will disappoint when it comes to edge holding capabilities.
Is CPM S110v steel good for knives?
CPM S110V steel has all the properties to make it good knife steel. It offers excellent edge retention, exceptional wear resistance, decent corrosion resistance, and great toughness.
The only downside of this steel is that it is hard to sharpen. Still, you can solve this by taking your knives for professional sharpening. It will cost you, but the edge lasts for long, making the services economical.
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!