localized corrosion along grain boundaries, a type. The exact quenching method is specified by the steel manufacturer or foundry, so it's not some mystical question that has to be resolved. Manganese acts as a deoxidizer since oxygen is harmful in the refining process, and in small amounts, reduces brittleness to improve forgeability, meaning less brittle, more easily forced around: hammered, bent, deformed: forged. Sigma phase ( -Phase ). While hard, it's also brittle and detrimental to stainless steels overall. It's sad, really; makers are supposed to know and understand steels and cutting edges, and they spread this error continually. Hypereutectoid steels can transform in equilibrium phase transformation to pearlite and cementite, with many more abundant hard particles of cementite.
Knife blades, steels, history, heat treating, allotropes, phases, transformations, tempering, cryogenic processing, details types, results, myths, references.
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This is an atrocious screw up on the heat treater's part; no torch should ever be used to straighten a blade; hell, no torch should even be in the same room with a knife that's been heat treated! So you might see a bar graph with bars of the advertised steel towering far above the bars of a comparative steel (typically 440C, since it is the standard others are compared to for a reason). But this is far and away from scientific grain testing and study, something I will flatly claim is out of the realm of knifemaking. This has to be done slowly under cover of darkness, because it's the rarest tree in the world, with only one living specimen. They are not alone, there are literally thousands of scientists daily sharing their new knowledge and studies on the internet and in publications. Good heat treating practice will preserve fine engraving cuts, because it takes almost no finishing to bring the knife to a high polish. The reality of modern steel and its processing is much more technical. White steel must be very pure. Sharpening: I thought it was important to include this factor. The temperatures and rates of cooling and heating in the multiple tempering cycles are tremendously important, as is the very specific temperature control of the tempering oven and cooling rate buffers.
I know of no maker that is regulating the temperature of the bath with control systems, and I don't even know of one who measures the temperature of the bath with a thermal sensor. It is not a high alloy; it's a very simple steel.