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Protanium® High Torque Steel:

Overview | Quality Assurance | Optimized Heat Treating | Torque/Hardness/Strength

The torque capacity of a hex key is a function of hardness, tensile strength, and stock size. Hardness determines tensile strength, and the following formula can be used to determine torque:
Torque = (tensile strength) * .2 * (stock size across flats)3

Example:
A hex key has a hardness of 57 RC, a tensile strength of 320000 psi, and a stock size of 0.25 inches.
Torque = (320000) * .2 * (0.25)3
Torque = (320000) * .2 * (0.15625)
Torque = (320000) * 0.003125
Torque = 1000 lb.in

The chart below shows the relationship between hardness and tensile strength.

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