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Higher molybdenum gear steel outperforms rivals


A newly-developed molybdenum-alloyed carburizing steel has outperformed existing gear steels without increasing alloy cost, in a study conducted by the German Institute for Machine Elements (FZG) in Munich, Germany, on behalf of the International Molybdenum Association (IMOA).

Modern gearboxes must deal with increasing load stresses while offering high reliability, requiring exceptionally strong, high performance steel. Combining alloying elements with heat treatment produces the optimal blend of high surface hardness and high base strength required for safe operation in large, highly-loaded gears.

Compared to the standard high-end gear steel grade (18CrNiMo7-6), the new steel contains slightly more carbon, twice the amount of molybdenum (0.55%) but only about half the addition of nickel (0.9%). The IMOA-sponsored study, conducted in association with a German special steel producer, found that hardenability and strength were greatly improved, with the new steel clearly outperforming all reference steel grades in two DIN standard benchmark tests. However there was no increase in alloy cost.

Dr Nicole Kinsman, IMOA Technical Director,said: “This superior performance means that gears made from this new grade could support either higher torque, or for equivalent loads, could be built smaller and lighter. Possible applications include wind turbines, heavy machinery, trucks and cars.”



Notes for editors

IMOA is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of most of the world’s molybdenum producers and converters, as well as consumers and traders.  

Molybdenum is added to steels and cast irons to improve strength, toughness, hardenability and weldability for numerous applications in the automotive, shipbuilding, construction, mining, chemical, oil & gas and energy generation industries.    

In stainless steels and superalloys, it improves corrosion resistance and high-temperature performance and finds uses in many industrial applications.  It is also used in a variety of products from catalysts and lubricants to pigments and paint.


For more information contact:

Alan Hughes
T: +44 (0)1606 852011
M: +44 (0)7759 243969



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