How Good is CPM 20CV Knife Steel?

Knives are an essential accessory in every household or a fundamental part for all engineers.

The sharpness in its edge is the most useful part, although it is vital to have a good hold. Used in many industries and regular activities, knives can be of different materials.

Ranging from plastic, ceramic, steel, or iron, knife making industries indulge in various forms.

However, steel is commonly available, and its varied applications make it a popular material in the knife making industry. One such common material of knives these days is the CPM 20CV steel. 

How Good is CPM 20CV Knife Steel?

The use of a high percentage of carbon in this alloy makes it ideal for making knives. Although it may not be as resistant to breakage as other steel alloys, it has edge retention capacity. Further, it is also resistant to rust and is quite hard. Its ability thus differs from the requirements of different individuals. 

Crucible Particle Metallurgy (CPM)

CPM is one of the common processing in the present day for producing high alloy steels mainly for commercial use. These steels are not only of high-quality, but the production process is also a complex but efficient one. They also are beneficial than the conventional mode of making steel knives. Some of these benefits are as follows:

While the molten steel solidifies in conventional steel-making, the alloy materials do not form a uniform structure. In contrast, in metallurgy steel-making, the structure of the alloy stays uniform while solidifying. 

The materials in traditional steel-making separate from one another, but in CPM, the materials have comparatively less segregation, although not totally. The grades of steel used in knife making industry through CPM has higher alloy grades. Thus, this implies the carbon content is more in these knives. 

Composition of 20CV through Crucible Particle Metallurgy

The presence of iron in a very high percentage, along with tungsten and molybdenum, gives this knife a high volume. Secondly, there is high carbon content, i.e., more than 1% making it ideal for knives. Lastly, the use of the high volume of vanadium and chromium makes this alloy durable and resistant to wear. 

For a detailed description, the list of materials in this alloy are:

  • Fe (Iron): 72.5%
  • C (Carbon): 1.9%
  • Cr (Chromium): 20%
  • Mo (Molybdenum): 1%
  • V (Vanadium): 4%
  • W (Tungsten): 0.6%

Characteristics of knives made with CPM 20CV

Below mentioned characteristics are the basic ones that an ideal knife must possess. Let us analyze these properties with the material contained in the alloy of CPM 20CV knives. As a result, we will come to know for sure the capability of these knives and their suitability.


Alloys made with Crucible Particle Metallurgy has uniformity throughout the material. This stability till the atomic level gives it the required strength that a knife must-have. While making knives with this alloy, it has the toughness as per necessity due to carbides. However, it is not resistant to break or cracks. For regular use, it is appropriate but may not withstand when you cut hard or solid materials.


For a knife to be useful, its sharpness matters the most. Further, it is also necessary that this sharpness remains exact for a long time without sharpening. The presence of vanadium gives this alloy the ability to retain its sharpness. Molybdenum further increases its strength to hold the edge, as it is. 


Although chromium does not contribute to resistance in wear, it has the ability to resist corrosion. These knives are thus non-corrosive and also do not retain stain. A simple wash under the running water gives back its shine. Besides, molybdenum also is a corrosion-resistant material. People who regularly use knives in the kitchen prefer those which are resistant like these. Hence, suitable for cutting citrus fruits like lemons and oranges. 


Just like other knives, CPM 20CV also requires basic maintenance. Regular washing after use and keeping it dry will make the knife durable and long-lasting. Since it is resistant to corrosion, it is safe to use for cutting food items. 

The properties mentioned above indicate that CPM 20CV is thus not a bad choice for knife making. Knives with this alloy are resistant to corrosion, tough, and quite hard. Its ability to retain the edge makes its usefulness much higher than those which frequently lose its sharpness. But it may break in case you are trying to cut a very hard object. 

Hence, if you prefer sharpness over break resistance, it is an ideal choice for you. It is ideal for regular use, and its short size will be more effective in use as it may break if the blade is too large. However, in order to make it long-lasting, ensure to apply basic maintenance strategy. It includes basic cleanliness and proper storage after drying.

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