Metal Industry Glossary

A

Abrasion (fr: Abrasion): The process of scratching, scuffing, rubbing away or wearing down. It can be intentionally imposed in a controlled operation, or it can be an undesirable effect of exposure to normal use or to various elements.

AISI (fr: AISI): The abbreviation for American Iron and Steel Institute, one of the oldest trade associations in the United States (1855).  It was developed for collecting and disseminating statistics and information, carrying on investigations, providing a forum for the discussion of issues and generally advancing the interests of the metal industry.

Alloy (fr: Alliage): A substance with metallic properties that is composed of two or more chemical elements, with at least one of the elements being a metal.

Alloy steel (fr: Acier allié): Steel that contains additions of elements other than silicon, manganese, sulfur, phosphorus, or in which silicon and manganese are present in large amounts to improve or alter any of the physical or mechanical properties of the steel.

Aluminizing (fr: Aluminiser): The process of coating steel with aluminum; it generates similar results to galvanizing and increases heat resistance.

Aluminum (fr: Aluminium): A silvery-white, soft, nonmagnetic and ductile metal. Aluminium is known for its low density, its ability to resist corrosion and is the most widely used non-ferrous metal. Its major uses are in the following industries: building & construction, transportation, packaging, electricity-related uses, household item production.

Angles (fr: Angles): A standard long product available in steel, aluminium and other metals, mainly used in industrial applications like: machinery & equipment frames (Braces and Corners), transportation (Frames and Corners), support frames that require bolting, riveting, welding; also, on bridges and buildings and for general structural use in construction. The arms of the angle may be equal or unequal.

Annealing (metallurgy) (fr: Recuit – métallurgie): A heat treatment process that alters the physical properties of metal to increase its ductility and reduce its hardness, thus making it more workable. The process involves the heating of the material above its recrystallization temperature, maintaining a temperature suitable for working the metal and finalizing with cooling.

Anodizing (fr: Anodisation): An electrolytic passivation process that coats the metal with a decorative, durable, corrosion-resistant, anodic oxide finish. Anodizing is used primarily with nonferrous metals, mostly aluminum. Aluminum oxide is not applied to the surface like paint or plating, it is integrated with the aluminum substrate, so it cannot chip or peel. Its structure is highly ordered and porous, which allows easy coloring and sealing. Anodized finishes have made aluminum one of the most widely used materials today in the production of consumer, commercial and industrial products.

ASTM (fr: ASTM-SAEM): American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) is an international standards organization that develops and publishes technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services.

B

Bar (fr: Barre): A long, non-ferrous or ferrous metal product produced in rectangular or circular cross-section. Normally, a metal bar is over 10mm thick and up to 300mm wide. Not to be confused with Rebar.

Beam (fr: Poutre): A structural element primarily used to withstand loads that are, typically, applied laterally to the beam’s axis. Its mode of deflection is primarily by bending. Beams can be characterized by their manner of support, profile (shape of cross-section, e.g. I-beams, H-beams, T-beams), length, and their material (e.g. steel, aluminium, wood). Generally, a “structural beam” is a descriptor of construction & building or civil engineering elements, but any structures such as automotive automobile frames, machine frames, and other mechanical or structural systems contain beam structures. They are too designed to carry lateral loads and are analyzed in a similar fashion.

Bending (fr: Pliage du métal): A metal forming operation that involves the straining of a material, usually a flat sheet or a strip metal, by moving it around a straight axis and applying stress to bend it.

Black steel pipe (fr: Tuyau en acier noir): A pipe made of steel that has not been galvanized. Its coating is of dark-colored iron oxide (hence the name – black steel pipe) and it is used in applications that don’t require galvanized steel.

Blanking (fr: Découpage): A shearing operation in which a punch (a metal rod with a sharp tip at one end and a blunt butt at the other) and die (a specialized tool used in manufacturing industries to cut or shape material via a press) are used to form metals and other materials. The punched out piece of metal is called a blank and is designed for further use.

Brass (fr: Laiton): A family of copper and zinc alloys, usually 60/40 – its variations in composition result in different physical characteristics and colours.

Brazing (fr: Brasage): The process of joining two or more metal pieces together by melting and coursing a filler metal (the filler metal having a lower melting point the joined metal items) into the joint. Unlike welding, brazing does not involve the melting of the working pieces and requires higher temperatures and more closely fitted parts then when soldering.

C

Carbon steel (fr: Acier au carbone): A type of steel in which the primary alloying element is carbon. One of the most important factors determining the steel’s mechanical properties is the level of carbon contained it. Carbon steels have no more than 1.65 percent manganese, 0.6 percent copper, or 0.6 percent silicon. Carbon steels come with varying levels of formability. Generally, the more formable grades are, more costly. Carbon steel is also called mild steel.

CDS tube (fr: Tube CDS): The abbreviation for Cold Drawn Seamless Tube. Produced from carbon steel and various alloy grades, CDS tubes have a better surface finish, closer dimensional tolerances, and higher mechanical properties than the corresponding grades of hot finished seamless tubes

Coil (fr: Bobine): A sheet of steel that is wrapped around a mandrel into a roll.

Cold rolled or CR (fr: Laminé à froid): A class of metal that received additional handling after being hot rolled, pickled, and oiled. The metal is moved through a set of rollers, which provides the workpiece with uniformed thickness and improved smoothness of the surface. This process is done at room temperature.

Cold working (fr: Travail à froid): The permanent plastic deformation of a metal below the temperatures of its recrystallization, normally at room temperature.

Cold-drawn (fr: Etiré à froid): The passing of an unheated material (metal wire, bars, etc.) through a die to reduce its dimensions, toughen and improve the surface finish.

Corrosion (fr: Corrosion): Chemical or electrochemical deterioration of a metal/alloy.

Cut to size (fr: Couper à la taille): The result of an object cut to a proper size/length.

D

Deburring (fr: Ébavurage): The process of removing with a deburring tool the raised edges (also called – metal burr) or a piece of unwanted metal remaining attached to a metal workpiece after a modification process.

Die (in metal manufacturing) (fr: Matrice – dans la fabrication de métaux): A specialized manufacturing tool used to cut or shape metal materials mostly using a press. Dies are usually customized to the item they are used to create. Different dies are used in different metal manufacturing processes like: blanking, broaching, bulging, curling, coining, drawing, roll forming and many more.

Die Casting (fr: Moulage sous pression): The process of casting a non-ferrous metal (usually aluminium or zinc) into a closed steel die either by pouring (gravity die casting) or injection under pressure (pressure die casting). Die casting is more accurate and faster than sand casting.

DOM steel tube (fr: Tube en acier DOM): A welded round steel tube with the internal weld seam removed thus creating a smooth internal surface. DOM Round Steel Tube has been drawn over a mandrel to form a tube with more exact dimensional accuracy and resistance, and a very smooth inside and outside finish. DOM Round Steel Tube is ideal for stressful applications that require higher quality, increased mechanical properties, strength, uniformity, and soundness.

Drawing (of metal) (fr: Etirage): The operation of drawing metal through a die to produce long lengths of tube, wire, or strip sections.

Drilling (of metal) (fr: Forage – des métaux): The process of cutting holes into metal by using a rotary cutting tool – the drill bit. Unlike punching metal, drilling cuts the material while spinning and thus, the waste ejects up through the hollow shaft and exits through the top.

Ductility (fr: Ductilité): The ability of a material to deform plastically without fissure. This ability is measured by elongation or reduction of area in a tensile test.

E

Endurance limit (fr: Limite d’endurance): The maximum level of stress below which a material can supposedly endure an infinite number of stress cycles.

ERW pipe (Tuyau ERW): Electric Resistance Welded Pipes (ERW) – used in various engineering purposes, scaffolding, fencing, line pipes etc.

F

Fatigue (fr: Fatigue): A phenomenon consisting of a fracture under repeated or wavering stresses having a maximum value less than the ultimate tensile strength of the material.

Flame cutting (for metals) (fr: Découpe à la flamme – pour métaux): A process used for cutting and shaping metals; also know by many more names like oxy-fuel cutting, oxygen burning, steel burning and other terms. Flame Cutting is Thermo-Chemical process that requires an intense source of heat and pure oxygen (minimum purity of 99.5%). The cut occurs by using a torch to heat the metal to its auto-ignition temperature, and then a stream of oxygen is directed on the metal, burning it into metal oxide that exits the kerf as slag.

Folding (of metal sheets) (fr: Pliage – de tôles métalliques): A type of metal bending technique in which clamping beams hold the longer side of the sheet; the beam rises and folds the sheet, enabling the forming of parts with positive and negative bend angles. In metal folding, the bend angle is influenced by factors like: folding angle of the beam, tool geometry and material properties. Folding allows the working of large sheets, facilitating the automation of the process.

Forming (fr: Formage): The operation of converting a flat sheet metal work-piece into a 3-dimensional object.

G

Galvanizing (fr: Galvanisation): The process of coating steel with zinc that creates a surface highly resistant to corrosion.

Grade (fr: Grade): Refers to the type of metal being used, which is defined by its chemical ingredients and its mechanical properties.

Grating (fr: Grille): A structure of parallel or crossed bars, generally preventing access through an opening while allowing ventilation and other communication.

H

Hardness (fr: Dureté): The ability of a metal to resist, scratching, indentation, abrasion or cutting. Materials with high resistance are called hard; those with little resistance are called soft.

H-beam (fr: Poutre en H): A structural element with an H-shaped cross section, primarily used in construction to withstand loads that are, typically, applied laterally to the beam’s axis. Aside from their different weight-withstanding properties, the visual difference between an H–beam and an I-beam consists in the flange, the H-beam’s flange has no inclination and the upper and lower surfaces are parallel.

Heat Treatment (of metals) (fr: Traitement thermique – des métaux): A set of metalworking processes used for altering the physical and chemical properties of a metal. Heat treatment involves the heating or chilling of the metal to extreme temperatures, to achieve a desired result such as hardening or softening of the material. There are several heat treatment techniques like: annealing, precipitation strengthening, tempering, case hardening, carburizing, quenching and normalizing.

HFS tube (fr: Tube HFS): The abbreviation for Hot Finished Seamless Tube. HFS is a lower cost product than CDS (Cold Drawn Seamless Tube) and is a good material for applications that don’t require the close dimensional tolerances and surface quality finish provided by the CDS tube. When tight tolerances are required, machining is used to finish the product to exact specifications. HFS is used for products that require a thicker wall and a high strength material such as hydraulic rollers, cylinders, and sleeves.

Hot punching (fr: Poinçonnage à chaud): In metal forging applications the metal workpiece is often punched while hot, hence the name of the operation – hot punching.

Hot rolling (fr: Laminage à chaud): Metal forging process, performed at a high temperature in order to make the metal malleable.

HRP&O (fr: HRP&O): An abbreviation for hot-rolled, pickled and oiled – a treatment applied to metals after being hot-rolled.

HSS (fr: HSS): High-Strength Steels (HSS) is a broad category of steel products commonly having yield strength in excess of 40,000 PSI (pounds per square inch).

I

I-Beam (fr: Poutre en I): A structural element with an I-shaped cross section, primarily used in construction to withstand loads that are, typically, applied laterally to the beam’s axis. Aside from their different weight-withstanding properties, the visual difference between an I –beam and an H-beam consists in the flange, the I -Beam’s flange has an inclination and the upper and lower surfaces are not parallel.

L

Lamination (fr: Laminage): An imperfection in a steel coil resulting from seams, scratches, blisters, foreign material on an ingot or billet that are not repaired during the rolling process.

Laser cutting (for metals) (fr: Découpe laser – pour métaux): A technology that uses a high-power laser to cut metal. The laser beam is redirected at the material (most commonly through optics), which then either melts, burns, vaporizes, or is blown away by a jet of gas. The result is an edge with a high-quality surface finish. Industrial laser cutters are used to cut flat-sheet metals as well as structural and pipe/tube shaped metals. Laser cutting has some advantages over plasma cutting – it’s more precise and requires less energy when cutting sheet metal. However, plasma can cut through greater metal thickness than most industrial lasers.

M

Machining (fr: Usinage): The operation of removing material from a metal part, usually by using a power-driven machine.

Manganese steel (fr: Acier au manganèse): Manganese steel is a steel alloy containing 12-14% manganese. Distinguished for its high impact strength and resistance to abrasion in its hardened state, the steel is often described as the ultimate work hardening steel. Also called Hadfield steel or mangalloy.

Mechanical properties (fr: Propriétés mécaniques): The properties of a material that expose the elastic and inelastic reaction when force is applied.  In addition, it involve the relationship between stresses and strain like hardness, tensile strength, fatigue limit etc.

Metal fabrication (fr: Fabrication de métal): Is the creation of metal structures by operations like cutting, bending, and assembling structures from various raw materials.

Metal lathe (fr: Tour à métaux): Also called metalworking lathe is a large class lathe designed for precise machining of hard materials, originally – metals, and eventually plastics and other materials. These machine tools remove material from a rotating metal workpiece by means of various cutting tools, such as tool bits and drill bits.

Mild steel (fr: Acier doux): A type of steel in which the primary alloying element is carbon. One of the most important factors determining the steel’s mechanical properties is the level of carbon contained it. Mild steel has no more than 1.65 percent manganese, 0.6 percent copper, or 0.6 percent silicon. Mild steel comes with varying levels of formability. Generally, the more formable grades are, more costly. Mild steel is also called carbon steel.

Mitre cutting (fr: Coupe à onglet – pour les métaux): The operation of cutting under an established angle the faces of two metal structures, so that the pieces will be joined and create a corner, thus introducing a new term – mitre joint. The most common angle for to pieces to be cut is at 45 degrees, so that when joined the corner will be 90 degrees. However, mitre cutting can be done under other angles depending on the objective. For more efficient and accurate mitre cuts, metal fabrication professionals often use motorized miter saws.

Mounting plate (fr: Plaque de montage): The part of a hinge, latch or handle that mounts the hardware to a cabinet. Mounting plates help attach doors to frames more easily.

O

Oxidation (of metals) (fr: Oxydation – des métaux): A form of metal corrosion that can occur either in the air or after the metal is exposed to acids or water. Metal oxidation takes place as a result of a chemical reaction occurring on the metal’s surface while oxygen is present. During this process the electrons move from the metal to the oxygen molecules, leading to the generation of negative oxygen ions that enter the metal, creating an oxide surface. Old, rusted cars or rusted pieces of metal scrap are good examples of oxidation.

P

Plasma cutting (for metals) (fr: Découpe au plasma – pour métaux): A melting process that cuts through electrically conductive materials via a jet of hot plasma, also called arc cutting. The process involves creating a jet of electrically conductive gas to transfer energy from a power supply to any conductive material, which results in a cleaner and faster cutting process than with oxy-fuel (flame cutting). Typical materials cut by a plasma torch include steel, stainless steel, copper, brass and aluminum, as well as other conductive metals. Plasma cutting is an effective way of cutting both thin and thick materials and the process is extremely useful for cutting sheet metal in curved or angled shapes.

Plate (fr: Plaque): Wide, flat-rolled steel. It is now generally accepted that steel more than 3 mm (1/8 inch) thick is plate. See also Sheet.

Plating (fr: Revêtement): The operation of forming an adherent layer of metal on an object.

Punching (fr: Poinçonnage): A metal forming process that uses a mechanical press (called – a punch press) to force a tool (called – a punch) through the workpiece to create a hole. Punching is applicable to metals and other materials that come in sheet form. Also, punching is one of the cheapest methods for creating holes in sheet materials in high production volumes. Unlike drilling, a punch pushes the metal through a hole and the slug exits below, which depending on the objective can be reused or discarded.

R

Rebar (Reinforcing bar) (fr: Rebar – Barre d’armature): Short for reinforcing bar, which is a steel rod meant for incorporation in concrete, thus reinforcing it.

Rivet (fr: Rivet): A permanent fastening tool used in various forging processes. A rivet consists of a smooth cylindrical shaft (called – the tail) with a head on one end. On installation, the rivet is placed in a drilled or punched hole, and the tail is deformed, so that it expands to about 1.5 times the original shaft diameter, thus holding the rivet in place. Simply put, smashing the “tail” material flatter creates another head on the other end of the rivet, which results in a rivet that is roughly shaped like a dumbbell. The original head of the rivet is called – the factory head; the deformed end is called – the shop head or buck-tail. There are different types of rivets, some of them are: solid/round head rivets, blind rivets, semi-tubular rivets, drive rivets, flush rivets and other.

Rod (fr: Tige d’acier): Any rolled steel or steel with a circular cross-section can be considered a bar or a rod. Generally, a rod is from 3/16 to 1/2 inch in diameter. In most cases, today’s rods are rolled in long lengths and coiled.

S

Schedule of a pipe (fr: Cédule d’un tuyau): The term used to describe the thickness of a pipe.

Seamless tube (fr: Tube sans soudure): A tubular product that does not have any welding seam. This tube is manufactured by hot-working steel or, in some cases, by subsequently cold-finishing the hot-worked tubular product to create the desired shape, dimensions, and properties.

Shearing (fr: Cisaillement): The action of cutting by two blades along a straight line to separate metal. Machines used for shearing are called squaring shears. During this operation, a narrow strip of metal is deformed to the point where it fractures at the surfaces in contact with the blades. The fracture then propagates inward and provides complete separation. Shearing is used for producing blanks.

Sheet (fr: Feuille/Plaque): Wide, flat-rolled steel. Generally, steel that is less than 3 mm thick is considered sheet. See also Plate.

SMLS (fr: SMLS): The abbreviation that stands for Seamless.

Stainless steel (fr: Acier inoxydable): A type of metal that is more resistant to rust, corrosion and staining than regular steel, the oxidation is not apparent at eyesight. It is an alloy of iron and carbon mixed with elements such as chromium (makes it more resistant to rust), nickel, molybdenum, silicon, aluminum . Stainless steel materials are often used in construction and tools.

Structural steel (Acier de construction): A category of steel used for making construction materials in a variety of shapes. Most common structural shapes are I-Beams, Angles, Channels, Bars, Rods etc.

T

Tensile strength (fr: Résistance à la traction): The amount of applied force required to break the material, usually measured in pounds per square inch (PSI).

Tin (fr: Etain): Tin is a non-toxic metal used as a coating for other metals, such as steel, to prevent corrosion. Tin is also used in die-cast alloys, biocides, lead solder, bronze and as an alloy with titanium.

Tinplate (fr: Fer blanc): A thin steel or iron sheet coated with tin – used to make tin cans.

Tool steel (fr: Acier à outils): Carbon and alloy steels commonly used to make tools. Characterized by high hardness and resistance to abrasion, these materials often come with high toughness and resistance to softening at elevated temperature. Such attributes are generally obtained with high carbon and alloy content.

U

UHMW (fr: UHMW): The abbreviation for Ultra High Molecular Weight, which is a subdivision of the thermoplastic polyethylene. UHMW is considered a very tough material, with the highest impact strength of any thermoplastic presently available. It is odorless, tasteless and nontoxic. In addition, it is highly resistant to abrasion, in some forms being 15 times more resistant to abrasion than carbon steel. Also called High Modulus Polyethylene (HMPE).

W

Warping (fr: Déformation): Making or becoming bent or twisted out of normal shape, typically as a result of the effects of damp or heat.

Welded tube (fr: Tube soudé): A tube produced by welding the edges of a rolled strip of metal, creating a seam that runs the length of the tube.

Welding (fr: Soudage): Combining two or more pieces of metal by applying heat or pressure, or both, with or without filler material, to form a union through fusion or recrystallization across the surfaces.

X

XXH (fr: XXH): Abbreviation for Double Extra Heavy.

XXS (fr: XXS): Abbreviation for Double Extra Strong.

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