What is Vanax Steel?
Vanax Superclean is stainless steel produced by Bohler Uddeholm following the powder metallurgy process. Over the years, Vanax has been made in three versions: Vanax 35, Vanax 75, and now Vanax SuperClean. However, Uddeholm discontinued the production of 35 and 75 to produce Vanax Superclean. Vanax Superclean is also referred to as Vanax.
Vanax SuperClean is tougher and has better edge retention than the discontinued versions. What’s more, it is among the best steels in the knife-making industry. It is Nitrogen steel, meaning that it contains more Nitrogen than Carbon and the end product is solid and durable steel.
Vanax Steel Composition
- Carbon C 0.36%: Increases the edge retention, hardness and tensile strength. It also improves steel resistance to wear, abrasion, and corrosion.
- Chromium Cr 18.20%: Formation of Chromium carbides Increases the hardness, tensile strength, and toughness of the blade.
- Nitrogen N 1.55%: Increases hardness and corrosion resistance and hardness
- Molybdenum Mo 1.10%: It improves machinability and hardness.
- Vanadium V 3.50%: Increase wear resistance and toughness, it also improves corrosion resistance. High vanadium content enables the formation of Vanadium Carbides.
- Silicon Si 0.30%: Improves grain structure for better hardness, however like Manganese it can increase brittleness.
Properties of Vanax Steel
Vanax Superclean Hardness
Vanax Superclean has a hardness of 60-62 HRC as per the Rockwell hardness scale. This high hardness is associated with Nitrogen in its composition, and it produces knife blades with excellent edge retention and wear resistance.
Vanax Superclean Edge retention
The edge retention of steel is correlated with the hardness. Therefore, steel with high hardness like Vanax offers excellent edge retention. This means that once you sharpen the blades, they stay for a long time without becoming dull.
If you search for knives to be used in situations that do not give space for frequent sharpening, the varieties of Vanax knives will not disappoint you.
Vanax Wear resistance
Another area of excellence for hard steel is in wear resistance. With high wear resistance, the blades do not wear out faster, and hence the knife lasts longer. With proper care and use, Vanax knives can be used across generations. Proper care means that you do not subject them to more they can handle.
The high wear resistance of Vanax superclean is achieved by replacing Carbon with Nitrogen which gives it a great blend of stainless and high wear resistance.
Vanax Superclean Corrosion resistance
Corrosion resistance is an essential consideration for many knife users. So, is Vanax corrosion resistant? Yes, it is resistant to corrosion. It contains 18% chromium in its composition, exceeding the steel stainless steel requirements.
Additionally, it is Nitrogen-based steel; Nitrogen-based steel like Vanax, LC200N, Nitro-V, and CTS BD1N are known to provide excellent corrosion resistance over other Carbon chromium stainless steels.
Also, it is a powder metallurgy steel, meaning that it has the corrosion resistance of powder metallurgy and qualities of stainless steel. The combination of these qualities makes Vanax have excellent corrosion resistance properties.
If you are searching for knives to be used in highly corrosive environments, look no further because Vanax knives will never disappoint you.
Steel will either give you hardness or toughness. Therefore, for steel with high hardness and wear resistance like Vanax, we expect it to score poorly in toughness. However, this is not the case with Vanax.
Although it does not offer the best toughness out there, it has enough toughness to take in pressure and impacts without breaking or chipping. For context, Vanax offers better chipping and cracking resistance than AISI 440C but falls below AISI 420 steel.
Ease of sharpening Vanax
Another steel property affected by the hardness is the ease of sharpening. Being very hard steel, sharpening Vanax is a challenge. It will take you a lot of time and energy to get a razor-sharp edge.
The experience will be tougher for you if you are learning how to sharpen. On the positive though, the blades remain sharp for a long time; therefore, you do not have to go through the tough sharpening process every day.
Machinability of Vanax Superclean
Vanax offers good machinability, meaning that it is easy to work with. The easy machinability works in favor of the knife makers and the user.
Vanax steel vs. other steels
Vanax vs M390
Vanax has betterhardness than M390 and offers better edge retention, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. Specifically, on corrosion resistance, Vanax Superclean beats M390 due to the high level of chromium and high level of Nitrogen in its alloy composition.
On the other hand, M390 is tougher and a bit easier to sharpen. In most aspects, though, Vanax Superclean is better than M390 steel.
As much as Vanax beats M390 in edge retention, you should note that M390 is no slouch and offers among the best edge retention in steel out there. Vanax is also relatively expensive compared to M390, and this may be the only reason that may push you to pick M390 over Vanax.
Vanax vs Elmax
Vanax Superclean and Elmax are both products of Uddeholm works. They both offer excellent performance in terms of wear resistance, edge retention, and corrosion resistance.
Vanax Superclean is an improvement of Elmax by adding Nitrogen and Vanadium in its alloy. It offers much-improved corrosion resistance over Elmax. The addition of Vanadium also improves the edge holding capacity of Vanax steel
Vanax Superclean vs LC200N / Z Finit
Vanax and LC200N / Z finit steel are both Nitrogen based steel but manufactured by different companies. Uddeholm Vanax Superclean steel offers incredible edge retention, and it is better than Spyderco LC200N / Z finit in edge retention and corrosion resistance due to its superior alloy composition.
Vanax Super clean beats LC200N steel owing to the addition of about three times nitrogen content and about 3.5% Vanadium content like that of S35VN steel. The added Vanadium significantly improves the edge hardness and retention due to the formation of vanadium carbides, nitrides, and carbonitrides.
In toughness, they both offer almost similar performances. Still, Vanax performs slightly better due to the hard carbides in its alloy. Vanax SuperClean is also a relatively new steel in the market compared to LC200N, and thus it is much more expensive.
Is Vanax good knife steel?
Vanax is impressive stainless steel for knife making. It offers excellent corrosion resistance and holds an edge for a very long time due to its alloy’s Nitrogen and Vanadium elements. It is also easy to work with and offers good toughness.
The only downside to this steel is how costly a Vanax steel knife is; steels that are considered premium like M390 can be found at a much lower price than Vanax Superclean.
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!