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(Chro)moly goes to the races


Stock car racing evolved from the days of Prohibition in the U.S., when would-be revellers relied upon bootleggers in fast cars to transport illegal liquor from still to ‘speakeasy’. The bootleggers modified their ‘stock’ cars for greater speed, agility and cargo space, and ‘stock car’ racing was born.

Car racing - © Daniel Huerlimann-BEELDE/Shutterstock, Inc.

All race cars rely on specialist materials to make them faster, stronger and safer. No single material can satisfy all these demands, however the AISI (American Iron and Steel Institute) 41xx grades of molybdenum-alloyed steels meet many of them.

The Chromoly (aka Chrome-Moly or CrMo) grades take their name from the additions of chromium and molybdenum. The 4130 grade, originally developed for aeronautical use, is now a favorite of race car designers and fabricators, particularly in chassis where it offers a better strength-to-weight ratio than carbon steel. It is also found in roll bars and cages, combining high strength and toughness without adding a lot of weight.

Chromoly grade 4140 is particularly important for engine and suspension parts because of its excellent tensile strength, while other chromoly alloys are found in crankshafts, gears, pistons and flywheels because of their strength, toughness and resistance to heat, fatigue and wear.

The broad spectrum of attractive mechanical and physical attributes found in these race-pedigree alloys is due in no small part to the unique properties added by molybdenum, and even though they have been around for close to one hundred years, they are still critically important in helping teams to victory.

You can read more about Chromoly grades and their role in stock car racing in MolyReview, in which we showcase some of the most interesting and amazing uses of molybdenum. Jump straight to this article here.

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