How Good is CPM S90V Knife Steel?

A common accessory available in every household is a knife. With its varied applications and design, the structure of different knives serves different functions.

But the main factor that one looks for in knives is their material and sharpness. Although knife making industry indulges in various materials to make different knives, steel is most popular among them.

Since steel may be of various grades, one such widely used alloy is the CPM S90V.

How Good is CPM S90V Knife Steel?

CPM is the technique developed by Crucible Industries, especially for steel making, ensuring uniform composition. The high amount of carbon in S90V knives is the reason behind its wear-resisting ability. Besides, it also can retain its sharpness for a long duration and does not require frequent sharpening.

Before we discuss the properties to understand if CPM S90V is a good knife, let us discuss CPM in brief.

Crucible Particle Metallurgy

It is a known fact that steel comprises an alloy of more than two metals. CPM is the process that ensures that the quality of steel is higher than usual manufacturers. The superior quality is the distinguishing factor that makes it a popular process than traditional steel making. The process of CPM is as follows:

  • The alloy materials required for steel first melts into a homogenous mixture.
  • It then passes through a nozzle and then sprays out as droplets.
  • Once they cool down, the powder-type droplets them solidify in the steel containers.

In the traditional steel making process, the mixture of molten alloy settles directly into molds, but there is no uniformity of segregated materials. As a result, the carbides precipitate, decreasing the content of carbon in it.

Composition of CPM S90V

The presence of high carbon in this alloy makes it hard and reduces the effect of corrosion with the support of tungsten. Along with 14% chromium, it also contains a slight amount of manganese and silicon.

Besides, both phosphorus and sulfur increase its strength and enables it to undergo machinery operation. For better understanding, the composition is listed as under:

  • Carbon (C)- 2.3%
  • Chromium (Cr)- 14%
  • Molybdenum (Mo)- 1%
  • Manganese (Mn)- 0.5%
  • Silicon (Si)- 0.5%
  • Phosphorus (P)- 0.5%
  • Sulphur (S)-0.3%
  • Vanadium- (V)-9%
  • Tungsten (W)-0.4%

Properties of CPM S90V steel

Below mentioned are the properties of this alloy. Analyzing these properties will help in g

getting a clear idea of the alloy is good enough for using it in knife making industry.

Edge Retention:

High amount of carbon is the reason behind the maximum potential of steel to retain its edges. Materials with edge retain capacity are able to hold back the coating, which often diminishes with frequent usage. CPM S90V has 2.3% carbon, which is one of the highest in steel alloys. Further presence of vanadium ensures minimum wearing. Thus, this property of the alloy is suitable for knives.

Corrosion Resistance:

Since knives have common use in the kitchen, cutting and slicing is a regular process. Materials which cuts through acidic or citrus fruits must have corrosion resisting property. A high amount of chromium makes CPM S90V ideal for knives, which prevents wear due to resistance. Further, this alloy of steel is similar to stainless steel properties making it suitable for kitchen usage and regular household chores.

Wear resistance:

For a knife to be able to cut through hard substances, it must be able to withstand the force from them. CPM S90V can resist damage from friction caused by frequent rubbing or matting. This is mostly due to the presence of vanadium, which makes the knife hard and remains useful for a longer duration.


Although vanadium presence is advantageous for edge retention and wear-resistance, it also makes it difficult to sharpen. Due to this alloy’s high hardness, the steel made from it is difficult to sharpen, although once sharpened can retain the edge for a long time.


Materials that have sulfur content has the ability to cut through machines for their removal easily. However, CPM S90V has a very low sulfur content and a high amount of vanadium and carbon. Thus, the property of sulphur becomes recessive, and vanadium carbide makes machinability a bit challenging.


Although the CPM S90V is hard and is resistant to corrosion, it is not a very tough material.

Thus, by evaluating the properties mentioned above, it is evident that CPM S90V steel is ideal for knife making industry and can find a wide variety of applications. Ranging from hunting to cutting, it will serve almost all-purpose.

But despite these advantages, the user must understand that it cannot sharpen easily and is slightly brittle. But once sharpened, it can continue its applications for a long time without frequent finishing.

For instant sharpness, you can always use sandpaper, if necessary. Another important detail to remember is to ensure to maintain cleanliness and dryness while storing.

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