52100 Bearing Steel

52100 Bearing Steel

52100 steel is a high carbon chromium alloy steel that has a density of 7.81 g/cm3 (0.282 lb/in3). It can be hardened via cold and hot working processes and responds to annealing and tempering and can be strengthened using the heat treatment process. It is readily forged and formed, as well as machined, from its annealed condition. While generally not used for welding, 52100 steel is particularly useful in bearings, mill rolls, and vehicle parts thanks to its combination of strength, hardness, and work ability. The most common form of 52100 stock is bar stock, but it can also be found in tube, wire, flat-rolled, and forging stocks as well.

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Component elements of 52100 steel

52100 Steel Mechanical Properties

ASTM 52100 material hardness

Hot rolled, annealed coils: ≤92 HRB

Hot rolled annealed bars and tubes: ≤207 HBW

Annealed, cold drawn coils: ≤92 HRB

Annealed, cold drawn coils, bars and tubes: ≤248 HBW

Annealed, cold rocked tubes: ≤331 HBW

AISI 52100 flame hardening

55-60 HRC (Quenchant: Air or oil)

62-64 HRC (Quenchant: Water)

Typical Heat Treatment


Annealing temperature is 730-790 ℃ (1350-1450 ℉), furnace cooling.


Austenitizing temperature is 855 ℃ (1575 ℉)


Martempering temperature: 190 ℃ (375 ℉), Agent: Oil.


Heat treating cycle for martensitic hardening of 52100 bearing steel is as follows:

The austenitizing temperature is 815-855 °C for 15-40 minutes, each additional inch of thickness increases by 30 minutes.

Quenching temperature ≤ 150 °C agitated oil (martensite hardening); ≥ 230 °C molten salt (bainite hardening).

Tempering temperature 150-230 °C for 2-4 hours (Rockwell hardness 58-64 HRC)

As-quenched Rockwell hardness after heat treatment is typically 64-67 HRC.

Above,some mechanical properties of 52100 steel are shown to illustrate its useful working characteristics. This section will briefly explain each parameter and how it relates to the applications of 52100 steel.

Applications of 52100 Steel

As previously discussed, 52100 steel most often used in steel bearings, as well as bearing manufacturing equipment. Its toughness and hardness lend it to be used in blades and cutlery, though it is trickier to heat-treat than some other, more common blade steels. Below is a list of other common applications of 52100 steel:

Anti-friction bearings 

Mill rolls

Punches, taps,dies

Automotive and aircraft parts



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