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1020 - Good general purpose low carbon steel. Good machinability and formability. Used in automotive cams carbon steel. 1020 steel bars are characterized by a combination of good strength and high ductility. Ductility is the ability of a material to be shaped or molded. 1020 steel is also known for its machinability, a term used to describe the ability of a material to be machined easily. 1020 steel bar can be used for a variety of general engineering and construction applications including axles and automobile parts.

Strength and Hardness
The tensile strength of 1020 steel bars typically ranges from 410 to 790 Mpa. Tensile strength is the maximum stress a material can withstand without tearing. The steel has a Brinell hardness range of 119 to 235. The Brinell hardness test method measures the indentation of a weight-loaded hardened steel or carbide ball on a material and is an indicator of that material's strength, or hardness. 1020 steel density is .284 pounds per cubic inch.

1020 steel is composed mostly of manganese and carbon. Percentages of manganese range from 30% to 90%. Percentages of carbon can range from 15% to 25%. Silicon can comprise anywhere from 0% to 35%. Smaller amounts of phosphorous and sulfur can be account for up to 5% of the composition of the steel respectively.

Working With 1020 Steel
1020 steel bar can be welded easily through normal welding methods. The steel's melting point is 2,760 degrees Fahrenheit and can be welded, cut or heat worked within the range of 850 to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. The bar can be cold worked, or hardened by various methods including flexing, by normal cold working methods.

Principal Design Features

1020 is one of the very commonly used plain carbon steels. It has a nominal carbon content of 0.20% with approximately 0.50% manganese. It is a good combination of strength and ductility and may be hardened or carburized.


1020 steel is used for simple structural application such as cold headed bolts. It is often used in the case hardened condition.


Machinability is good at 65% compared to 1112 carbon steel as 100% baseline.


Formability is good by all conventional methods as the ductility of 1020 is good.


Readily weldable by all of the standard methods. 1020 steel have a good weldability, and can be welded in electric-arc welding (EAW) and argon-arc welding. The ductility and toughness a little worse than Cr-Ni Steel. The manual EAW can use Austenite 707, 302 and 402 welding rod. After welded, the welded joint can test with “L” measure inter granular test without solution annealing, but can’t use “T” measure.

Heat Treatment

1020 may be hardened by heating to 1500 - 1600 F (1050-1100℃)and then water quenching. It should then be tempered. More often it is used as case hardened by carburizing . The cost of doing any heat treatment to such a low carbon steel often precludes doing so for the modest return in mechanical properties obtained.


Forge at 2300 down to 1800 F.

Hot Working

Hot work in the range of 900 to 1200 F.

Cold Working

1020 steel is readily cold worked by all conventional methods. A stress relief anneal may be needed after extensive cold work.


A full anneal is done at 1600 to 1800 F followed by slow furnace cooling. This will give a tensile strength of about 65 ksi. A stress relief anneal may be done at 1000 F.


Temper, following heat treatment and quenching, at 600 to 1000 F depending upon strength level desired. A 1000 F temper gives a tensile strength of 90 ksi.

1020 steel hardens by cold working an by heat treatment, quenching and tempering.
Chemistry Data
Carbon 0.17 - 0.23
Iron Balance
Manganese 0.3 - 0.6
Phosphorus 0.04 max
Sulphur 0.05 max
Physical Data
Density (lb / cu. in.) 0.284
Specific Gravity 7.86
Specific Heat (Btu/lb/Deg F - [32-212 Deg F]) 0.107
Melting Point (Deg F) 2760
Poissons Ratio 0.3
Thermal Conductivity 360
Mean Coeff Thermal Expansion 6.7
Modulus of Elasticity Tension 30
Modulus of Elasticity Torsion 11
Mechanical Data
Form Round Bar
Condition Cold Drawn
Temper 68
Tensile Strength 64
Yield Strength 54
Elongation 24
Reduction of Area 54
Rockwell B79
Brinnell 126
Form Round Bar
Condition Hot Rolled
Temper 68
Tensile Strength 55
Yield Strength 30
Elongation 25
Reduction of Area 50
Rockwell B76
Brinnell 137

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