The utility of a knife depends on optimizing all the factors affecting its performance. Usually, conditions of use (applied loads, abrasive environments, impacts, and other factors) determine how well the knife holds up. Most knife failures are related to such mechanical causes. However, with a variety of steels available for manufacturing knives, it is often possible to choose a knife steel with a favorable combination of properties for particular uses. By comparing the levels of metallurgical properties offered by different steels, knifemakers can determine which steels are best suited for fixing or resisting performance problems, or for enhancing knife performance. Knife steels can be categorized and compared by those properties which have a direct influence on performance: hardness, toughness (impact resistance), wear resistance, and corrosion resistance.