2 Common Chrome-Moly Myths

Color photograph showing a welding spark

The discovery of Chrome-Moly was a game changer, especially for the high-speed automobile and aircraft industries. But compared to other materials like iron or copper, Chrome-Moly has only been around for a little bit of time. As such, information about Chrome-Moly is riddled with inaccuracies, even in large publications. Here are two of the most commonly reported myths about Chrome-Moly.

First Off, What is Chrome-Moly?

Chrome-moly is an alias. The metal’s real name is actually 41xx Steel. It’s produced from a combination of chromium and molybdenum. While most of us are familiar with chromium, molybdenum is not an element we typically hear about. It’s a type of metal that doesn’t exist in its alloy form naturally and has the sixth highest melting point on the periodical table.

Photograph showing Chromium on top and Molybendum on the bottom
Chromium (top) and Molybdenum (bottom)

Myth 1: Chrome-Moly is lighter than Steel

Chrome-moly has an excellent weight-to-strength ratio. This makes it ideal for use on any project where weight can be an issue. For instance, chrome-moly is commonly used on motorcycles, higher-end bicycles, racing vehicles and aircraft parts. But if a motorcycle made with chrome-moly weighs less than a motorcycle made with steel, doesn’t that mean that chrome-moly is lighter than steel? No. Practically all high-strength steels have a similar density (specific weight). The reason a motorcycle made with chrome-moly is lighter is because you can use less material to get the same level of strength (since chrome-moly is stronger).

Myth 2: Chrome-Moly must be preheated

There’s still some welding experts that insist on always preheating chrome-moly. They say, “Sure you don’t have to preheat chrome-moly all the time, but it doesn’t hurt to do it anyways.”

And they’re right, in a sense. It won’t hurt you to preheat chrome-moly. But it will take up more time. And the proven truth is that you don’t always have to preheat. If your material is less than an 1/8th of an inch (.125”) thick, preheating is not required.

If you’re interested in welding high-strength materials, here’s a couple of our favorite machines to use with chrome-moly:

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