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Underlying metallurgy

The toughness of a steel is often measured by a Charpy impact test as the energy absorbed at a given temperature. Depending on the application a different specification of energy level required at a given temperature will be made by the customer, for example for some plate steels to be used in bridges 27 J (equivalent to 20 at -40 C is required. A ductile-brittle transition curve can also be determined.

For high performance steels, e.g. aircraft undercarriages, a KIc value may be used to quantify the toughness.

The main contributions to the toughness of a steel come from:

All of these aspects need to be taken into account when selecting or designing a steel for a given application.

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