55 HRC is a very high hardness, even for steels.

Ideally the corrosion resistance of the steel would have to match AISI 316L or be even better.

Qenched stainless steel can go to 55HRC. Even to 65 HRC. But this is at the price of a high Carbone content. Carbone react with free Chromium and makes it unavailable for corrosion resistance. So that qenched stainless steel often have a poor corrosion resistance.

The most basic option is AISI 420. It has the minimum amount of Carbone needed and show a relatively good corrosion resistance. It is available at a very good price.

In the other hand we have the Cronidur30/Bohler N360. It is basically like if the 420 had been highly alloyed with everything available. It has 15% Chromium, 1% Molybdenium, 0,4% Nitrogen and some Vanadium. This gives it a really higher corrosion resistance but it actually only poorly match AISI 304, the most basic Austenitic Stainless Steel. It cost something like $30 per Kg. That's 6 time the price of the 420.

Precipitation Hardening stainless steel like 13-8 Mo PH would only reach 45 HRC. That's already high. I'm wondering if there is specific versions that can do better. This type of steel has a better corrosion resistance than quenched steels. I know that Myodo produce a steel called H1 but it is only available in Japan.

There is also some maraging stainless steels that can reach 55HRC. I have no idea of the price and actual corrosion resistance.

Highly strained by cold working classical stainless steel like 301 or Springflex can reach very high hardness. I don't know for what plate thickness 55 HRC could be reached. The other point is that cold working produce Martensite and reduce corrosion resistance. I don't know how good is final corrosion resistance.

I thought about high temperature Nitrocarburation. However this process reduce corrosion resistance. I don't know by what amount.

Another solution is to use a surface treatment like chemical Nickel. However I'm not totally confident in this type of solution because the corrosion resistance is reduced to 0 locally where the coating is breached.

If you have any idea. I would be greatly interested.


Edit : to make it short

I'm looking for a steel that :

  • is as corrosion resistant as 316L or better

  • reach a hardness of 55 HRC

The steel will be used in a sort of bearing that is in contact with salty and a bit of citric acidic mixture in an industrial environment.

  • $\begingroup$ I‘m having trouble finding the actual question here, maybe you can clarify the post a bit in that regard? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ What is the purpose of your product? A knife? Or something else? $\endgroup$
    – GisMofx
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 21:07
  • $\begingroup$ It is somehow a bearing. I cannot tell too much. It is just that I cannot find a 55HRC steel that is as corrosion resistant as 316L. $\endgroup$
    – user6131
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 22:25
  • $\begingroup$ What type of corrosion? Eg 316L is not good in hot chloride environments at all... $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 23:32
  • $\begingroup$ against what material the bearing material you are looking for will bear ? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 6, 2018 at 4:47

1 Answer 1


There is not a steel . 440A will make the hardness and is a "stainless" , but generally not as corrosion resistant as 316 ( except 316 won't tolerate hot chlorides) . You need to define your corrosive environment. If by "bearing" you mean a rolling element bearing , a materials engineer may be able to do something with tungsten carbides , or ceramics, maybe a cobalt 6 ( aka Stellite 6) raceway. I assume money is no object. To answer our specific question , 440A is the most corrosion resistant steel with HRC 55.


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