4130 Alloy Steel: Properties, Composition, Uses, 4130 Vs 4140 Steel


4130 alloy steel is a versatile and cost-effective material commonly used in applications that require strength, formability and corrosion resistance. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover 4130 steel properties, compositions, strengtth, uses, difference between 4130 vs 4140 steel, why it’s an ideal material choice, how to work with it, and more.

What is 4130 Alloy Steel
4130 alloy steel is a chromium-molybdenum steel alloy that derives its name from its chemical composition based on standards set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). It contains chromium (0.8-1.1%) and molybdenum (0.15-0.25%) for enhanced corrosion resistance compared to plain carbon steels.

Key 4130 Properties

– 4130 steel has the following key properties:

  • – High strength-to-weight ratio
  • – Excellent ductility and formability
  • – Good machinability
  • – Corrosion resistance
  • – Joinability via welding and brazing
Where is 4130 Steel Commonly Used?

Due to its great strengths and fabricability, 4130 steel finds widespread application across many industries including:

  • – Automotive (axles, suspension components, engine parts)
  • – Agriculture equipment (tubing, fittings, mounts)
  • – Heavy machinery (structural members, hydraulic components)
  • – Military vehicles (truck beds, frames, weapon mounts)
  • – Transportation (railcars, trucks, ship components)
  • – Construction (beams, fabricated parts)
Mechanical Properties of 4130 Steel

Let’s take a closer look at the key mechanical properties that make 4130 alloy steel a top choice where strength and machinability are important.

Tensile Strength

Standard 4130 steel has a minimum tensile strength of 135,000 psi when properly heat treated, making it capable of withstanding heavy loads. The tensile strength can be further enhanced through cold working or specific heat treatments.

Yield Strength

The minimum yield strength is 75,000 psi. Yield strength indicates the stress level below which a material behaves elastically upon loading and unloading.


The Brinell hardness range is 225-295 BHN. 4130 steel can be hardened through processes like quenching and tempering to achieve target hardness levels for specific applications.


4130 steel displays good ductility with a minimum elongation of 15% when tested according to ASTM standards. Its high elongation allows cold forming abilities without loss of strength.

Fatigue Strength

This steel has a fatigue strength limit around 40 ksi, meaning it can withstand repeated stresses up to 40,000 psi without fatigue failure over an infinite lifespan.

Chemical Composition of 4130 Steel

The chemical makeup of 4130 alloy steel contributes greatly to its balanced mechanical properties. Here is its standard composition limits based on AMS6415:

Element Weight %
Carbon 0.28-0.33
Manganese 0.75-1.00
Phosphorus 0.04 max
Sulfur 0.05 max
Silicon 0.15-0.30
Chromium 0.80-1.10
Molybdenum 0.15-0.25

Heat Treatment of 4130 Steel

In order to achieve optimal properties, 4130 steel requires specific heat treatment. The most common methods are quenching and tempering or normalizing:

Quenching and Tempering

Involves heating to 1550-1650°F, oil quenching for hardness, then reheating to 400-950°F and air cooling to develop strength and toughness levels.


This process helps relieve internal stresses by heating to 1550-1650°F and air cooling. It results in more uniform properties compared to the as-received condition.

Fabrication and Joining of 4130 Steel

Its ductile nature allows versatile forming like bending, spinning, stamping and hydroforming. Welding is another option to join 4130 steel pieces together.


It machines well with carbide or high-speed steel tools. Chips eject easily due to good ductility. Cutting speeds range from 75-125 SFM depending on operation.


Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) with matching filler wires like E4130 is suitable. Other options are gas metal arc welding (GMAW), gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) or brazing.

Corrosion Resistance of 4130 Steel

Chromium in its composition enhances corrosion resistance compared to plain carbon steels. Various protection methods can provide degrees of corrosion protection:

Oil Quenching

Provides a tough corrosion-resistant surface during hardening treatment.


Involves treating the steel in nitric acid to form a thin, transparent passive film highly resistant to corrosion.

Painting and Coating

Alkyd-based, epoxy and powder paints effectively coat 4130 steel parts for outdoor use.

Applications Benefiting from 4130 Steel

In summary, 4130’s balanced properties make it an excellent choice for:

  • – Vehicle frames, suspension and powertrain components
  • – Construction equipment and agricultural machinery
  • – Piping and tubing where dent resistance is important
  • – Welded structures such as cranes and bridges
  • – Automotive spare parts and aftermarket components
  • – Military and aerospace applications
  • Which is Stronger, 4130 or 4140 Steel?
4140 steel is generally stronger than 4130 steel. Here are some key differences in their strengths:
– Tensile Strength: 4140 steel has a higher minimum tensile strength range compared to 4130. 4140 ranges from 75-95 ksi (520-655 MPa), while 4130 is typically around 72 ksi (500 MPa).
– Yield Strength: The minimum yield strength of 4140 is also higher, ranging 65-85 ksi (450-585 MPa) versus around 58 ksi (400 MPa) for 4130.
– Carbon Content: 4140 contains more carbon than 4130 at around 0.38-0.43% vs 0.28-0.33% in 4130. Higher carbon increases strength.
– Quench Hardening: 4140 responds better to quench hardening treatments like austempering for additional strengthening. 4130 loses some ductility when hardened.
– Martensitic Structure: The higher carbon in 4140 allows it to form a harder lath martensitic microstructure during hardening versus 4130’s plate martensite.
– Tempering Resistance: 4140 retains more of its hardness even after tempering at higher temperatures compared to 4130.
However, 4130 maintains better weldability and ductility than 4140 due to its lower carbon content. So 4140 is stronger but less formable. The materials have comparable toughness when properly heat treated. Overall, 4140 offers higher strength at the cost of reduced ductility compared to 4130 steel.