Tool-life tests are reported which show that the performance of AISI M1 high speed steel taps responds to the tempering temperature in the same manner as the yield strength. The metallurgical transformations which occur during tempering are described in detail with specific attention given to the precipitation reactions which occur over the temperature range of peak secondary hardness. The variation in yield strength is found to be consistent with a coherent-incoherent precipitation sequence of alloy carbides during tempering. An estimate of the yield strength is made based on dislocation theories of martensitic and precipitation strengthening.

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