An Introduction to H13 Tool Steel Powder

H13 tool steel powder is a versatile material used in powder metallurgy and metal additive manufacturing applications. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of H13 powder – composition, properties, specifications, uses, suppliers, and pros/cons.

Overview of H13 Tool Steel Powder

H13 tool steel powder is an alloy steel powder used for making tooling, dies, and wear-resistant components. Key features:

  • Excellent resistance to thermal fatigue and heat checking
  • High hardenability for uniform through-hardening
  • Good combination of toughness and high compressive strength
  • Commonly used in hot work tooling applications
  • Available in various size distributions for pressing and additive manufacturing

Its properties make H13 powder suitable for demanding tooling needs in hot work environments.

H13 Tool Steel Powder

Composition and Properties of H13 Powder

H13 tool steel powder has the following nominal composition and properties:

Chemical Composition of H13 Powder

ElementWeight %

Physical Properties of H13 Powder

  • Density: 7.3 g/cm3
  • Melting Point: 2640°F (1450°C)
  • Thermal conductivity: 21 W/m-K at 68°F (20°C)

Mechanical Properties

  • Hardness: 48-54 HRC when oil quenched and tempered
  • Tensile strength: 1900-2100 MPa
  • Yield strength: 1650 MPa
  • Elongation: 8-10%
  • Reduces hardness and ductility at temperatures above 1000°F

Its balanced alloying improves hardenability, heat resistance and toughness.

Powder Characteristics and Specifications

H13 tool steel powder is available in various size distributions:

H13 Powder Size Distributions

Size RangeDescriptionTypical Uses
15-45 μmFiner powder for pressing small and complex tooling featuresCompacts for metal injection molding
45-106 μmCoarser powder suitable for most press and sinter toolingConventional press and sinter process
15-53 μmMixed powder for good packing densityBinder jetting or inkjet 3D printing
45-150 μmLarger particles for better flowabilityLaser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing


  • ASTM A581: Standard specification for free-machining stainless and heat-resisting steel bars, hot-rolled or cold-finished
  • ISO 4957: Tool steels
  • AWS A5.13: Specification for welding iron-base flux cored electrodes

H13 powder composition and size meets common standards for tool steel.

Applications of H13 Powder

Typical applications taking advantage of H13’s properties:

H13 Powder Applications

IndustryCommon Uses
Metal manufacturingDie casting dies, extrusion dies, forging dies, injection molds
Plastics manufacturingBlow molds, compression molds, thermoforming molds, injection molds
AutomotiveTrimming and piercing punches, forming rolls
AerospaceForming and molding tools
Additive manufacturingLaser powder bed fusion, binder jetting

H13’s combination of heat resistance, hardness, and toughness make it ideal for hot work tooling applications up to ~600°F and short exposures above.

Suppliers and Pricing

H13 tool steel powder is available from major suppliers:

H13 Powder Suppliers

SandvikGlobal tool steel manufacturer. Wide range of Osprey H13 powders.
HöganäsMajor iron and steel powder producer. H13 powder for pressing.
Carpenter AdditiveProduces H13 powder for additive manufacturing.
CNPC PowderSupplies H13 powder meeting common specifications.
ErasteelProvides customized size distributions of H13 powder.

H13 Powder Pricing

As a specialty tool steel powder, H13 is more expensive than simple iron or stainless steel powders:

  • 15-45 μm H13 powder: ~$14/lb
  • 45-150 μm H13 powder: ~$12/lb
  • Pricing varies based on size, quantity, supplier, and geographical region.

Contact suppliers directly for quantity discounts to optimize cost.

Pros and Cons of H13 Powder

Excellent resistance to thermal fatigue and heat checkingLimited hot hardness – starts losing strength above 1000°F
Uniform hardening through larger cross sectionsProne to cracking if sections above 2-3″ are quenched
Toughness for withstanding impact stressesRequires post-hardening tempering treatment
Dimensional stability in serviceMore expensive than carbon steel powder
Widely available from major suppliersSurface oxidation can be a problem above 1000°F

H13 powder provides an optimal balance of properties for most hot work tooling uses despite some limitations.

H13 vs. H11 Powder Comparison

H13 and H11 are similar chrome hot work tool steels. Key differences:

ParameterH13 PowderH11 Powder
Composition5% chromium8% chromium
Hot hardnessModerate up to 1000°FBetter retention up to 1100°F
ToughnessHigherLower toughness
Thermal fatigue resistanceExcellentGood, not as strong as H13
CostModerateLower cost than H13

For the best combination of heat resistance, toughness and cost, H13 is generally preferred over H11 for most hot work tooling applications.


What is H13 tool steel used for?

H13 is commonly used for hot work tooling applications like die casting dies, hot forging dies, extrusion tooling, plastic injection molds exposed to high temperatures.

What hardness is H13 after heat treatment?

Typical hardness for annealed H13 is 217 HB. Hardened and tempered H13 typically achieves 48-54 HRC depending on temper condition.

Can you machine H13 tool steel?

Yes, H13 can be machined in annealed or pre-hardened states using proper tooling and techniques. Hardness over 45 HRC requires grinding or EDM.

What is the difference between H13 and D2 tool steel?

H13 has better hot hardness and heat checking resistance than D2. D2 has higher wear resistance and achieves greater hardness when heat treated optimally.

Is H13 tool steel good for knives?

While very hardenable, H13 has lower toughness than steels like 440C or D2, making it less suitable for most knife applications.

With its balanced properties and availability, H13 tool steel powder is an excellent choice for hot work tooling needs.


H13 tool steel powder provides an ideal combination of heat and wear resistance, hardenability, and toughness for demanding hot work tooling applications. Its Chromium-Molybdenum-Vanadium alloy composition gives excellent thermal fatigue life and resistance to heat checking up to 600°F. H13 powder can be pressed and sintered or used in additive manufacturing to create durable tooling economically. Global suppliers provide H13 powder in various size distributions to suit different fabrication processes. With capabilities between conventional carbon steel and exotic super alloys, versatile H13 powder will continue seeing wide use in die casting, forging, extrusion, and injection mold tooling.

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