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431 stainless steel - malleable or hard?


Is 431 stainless steel considered malleable or is it hard and brittle? I've had prototype golf club heads cast for our testing program and find they are very difficult to drill. The machinist is going to try carbide bits. He thinks it may be the 431 stainless was cooled too fast or I made a wrong choice of material. My understanding is the 431 stainless is the material of choice for golf irons. Is that true? Can golf heads cast from this material normally be bent slightly, one to two degrees, to adjust loft and lie?

Thank you,

Pippo Schillaci
- Makawao, HI, USA


It can be heat treated to a soft (malleable) condition if that is required for machining etc. It can be heat treated to a hard condition if that is required for wear resistance or resistance to deformation. Neither condition is "right" or "wrong" in any absolute sense - they are simply different mechanical properties that can be developed to cater for different needs.

Bill Reynolds
Bill Reynolds [deceased]
consultant metallurgist - Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
We sadly relate the news that Bill passed away on Jan. 29, 2010.

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