World War II brought about many products that found their way into common use, from the transistor to the microwave. One advancement was the development of low hardness Quenched & Tempered (Q&T) structural steels. These steels were developed based on the technology used to make Q&T armor plate.

There are major differences in the hardness and chemistry of Q&T armor plates and Q&T structural steels. In simple terms, Q&T armor plate usually has a hardness of between 500 and 650 BHN (Brinell) while Q&T structural steel is usually around 235-300 BHN.

Wear Steel and Armor Plates: The Blind Spots of ASTM Q&T Standards

In order to provide a common standard for the production of Q&T structural steels, the American Society for testing and Materials wrote the specification known as ASTM A514. This standard details parameters regarding the production of this lower hardness Q&T structural grade steel.

Although the ASTM has developed detailed specifications for Q&T steels produced for structural purposes, no testing laboratory or authority in the US or Canada has formulated any specifications for the production of Q&T Wear steels or Armor plate.

So Where do Armor Plate and Wear Steel Standards Come From?

Steel mills around the world have each written their own specification for the production of their specific Wear Steels and Armor Plate. Steel buyers must try to compare specifications from many steel mill producers to determine how a specific mill and grade of steel will meet their requirements. Adding to the confusion is the rapid development of steel making and heat treatment technology which have resulted in new Q&T Wear steels and Armor plate.

The exception is the US military which has developed and published detailed standards for specific grades of Armor plate that it purchases such as MIL Spec 46100.

Which Set of Standards is Right for My Application?

If you’re not sure about which steel is best suited to your unique application, we invite you to give us a call. We offer a wide variety of high Wear-Resistant alloys and Armor Plates, and are more than happy to help you to understand what type of performance you can expect from the various grades. You will have the knowledge you need to make an informed decision, and the confidence that these steels are tough enough to meet your needs.

To learn more, contact us today.