Glossary of Metal Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

MAGNESIUM

Chemical symbol Mg. A silvery, moderately hard, strong, and light metal. Used in ductile iron production, steel desulfurization, and chemical reduction. Growing use as substitute for aluminum and zinc in die castings, due to lightweight and high strength.

MANGANESE

Chemical symbol Mn. A gray-white, hard, and brittle metal. Critical in the production of pig iron and steel, it usually is preprocessed with carbon or silicon prior to iron smelting or steel making. Also used in batteries and chemicals manufacture.

MECHANICAL TUBING

Steel tubing products used in the manufacture of hydraulic cylinders, in mechanical parts for autos and trucks, construction and farm equipment, and in furniture, bicycles and many other applications.

MOLYBDENUM

Chemical symbol Mo. A silvery-gray metal used as an alloy to strengthen steel and make it less susceptible to rust and corrosion. Key alloying element for some classes of stainless steel; in the presence of chromium, "moly" enhances the corrosion resistance of stainless steel.

NAVAL BRASS
(ADMIRALTY BRASS)

An alloy of copper, zinc, and tin used widely in the marine industry because of resistance to saltwater corrosion; actually it's a bronze.

NICKEL

Chemical symbol Ni. Hard, silvery-white metal known primarily as alloy to improve strength and corrosion resistance of other metals, notably steel. Metal is slightly magnetic metal, of medium hardness and high degree of ductility and malleability, with high resistance to chemical and atmospheric corrosion. Pure nickel is used in galvanic plating, where objects must be coated with nickel before they can be plated with chrome. When used as an alloying agent, it is of great importance in iron-based alloys in stainless steels and in copper-based alloys such as cupro-nickel as well as in nickel-based alloys such as Monel. (About 65% of all nickel is used in the making of stainless steel.)

NICKEL-BASED SUPERALLOYS

Multi-alloy metals suited for high-performance, high-temperature applications. These are nickel-iron-chrome alloys (which also contain titanium, columbium, and aluminum) and nickel-chrome-iron alloys (which often also contain molybdenum, tungsten, titanium, cobalt, aluminum, and columbium).

NICKEL-SILVER

Copper-based alloy that contains from 10% to 45% zinc and from 5% to 30% nickel; most often alloyed with brass.

NIOBIUM

Chemical symbol Nb. Name for Columbium metal everywhere in the world but the U.S.

NON-FERROUS METALS

Metals or alloys that are free of iron.

OIL COUNTRY TUBULAR GOODS

Label applied to the pipe products used by petroleum exploration customers. OCTG includes casing, drill pipe and oil well tubing, which, depending on their use, may be formed through welded or seamless processes.

OSCILLATING

Winding a narrow strip of metal over a much wider roll, much like threading over a spool.

OSMIUM

Chemical symbol Os. A bluish-white metal that is so hard it is difficult to fabricate (see PLATINUM GROUP METALS).

PICKLING

Cleaning a steel coil through a series of hydrochloric acid baths that remove the oxides (rust), dirt, and oil so that further work can be done to the metal.

PIG

Initial post-smelting casting of lead or iron. Named long ago when molten metal was poured through a trench in the ground to flow into shallow earthen holes, the arrangement looked like newborn pigs suckling. The central channel became known as the "sow," and the molds were "pigs."

PALLADIUM

Chemical symbol Pd. A major component in the production of petrochemical catalysts (see PLATINUM GROUP METALS).

PILING

Also known as sheet piling; a structural steel product with edges designed to interlock; used in the construction of dams or riverbank reinforcement.

PIPE

Technically, a thick-walled tube used to transport fluids or gases. In the steel lexicon, "pipe" and "tube" often are used interchangeably with a given label applied primarily as a matter of historical use.

PLATE

A smooth, flat, relatively thick (3/16-inch to more than one foot) mass of metal with a width of more than eight inches often sheared into individual pieces but also rolled into coils.

PLATINUM

Chemical symbol Pt. The key material in the manufacture of automotive catalysts (see PLATINUM GROUP METALS).

PLATINUM GROUP METALS

Called the "noble metals" because they are among the scarcest of the metallic elements; more important, they are totally impervious to oxidation or corrosion. The family is six metals: Platinum, a white infusible metal with high electrical resistance; Palladium, also white, noted for its strength and high ductility; Iridium, a yellowish mineral with the most corrosion resistance of any metal known; Rhodium, a silver-white metal also found with nickel; Ruthenium, a white metal noted for its hardness; and Osmium, a bluish-white metal that is so hard it is difficult to fabricate.

PHOSPHOR-BRONZE

Copper-based alloys with 3.5% to 10% tin, to which up to 1% phosphorous has been added in the molten state for deoxidizing and strengthening purposes. Because of excellent toughness, strength, fine grain, resistance to fatigue and wear, and chemical resistance, these alloys find general use as springs and in making steel fittings. It has corrosion-resistant properties comparable to copper.

POWDER METALS

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Fabrication technology in which fine metallic powder is compacted under high pressure and then heated at a temperature slightly below the melting point to solidify the material. Primary users of powder metal parts are auto, electronics and aerospace industries.

REINFORCING BAR

Also known as "concrete reinforcing bar" or "rebar"; a commodity-grade steel used to strengthen concrete in highway and building construction.

REVERSING MILL

Any rolling mill in which the direction of rotation of the rolls can be reversed at will. Heavy primary mills for bloom and slab rolling are the most common, but others, including some cold-rolling mills, are also made to reverse.

RHODIUM

Chemical symbol Rh. A silver-white metal found in nickel deposits (see PLATINUM GROUP METALS).

ROD

Round, thin semi-finished metal length that is rolled from a billet and coiled for further processing. These rolling facilities often are called "rod trains". Rod is commonly drawn into wire products or used to make bolts, nails, and other machined parts.

RUTHENIUM

Chemical symbol Ru. A white metal noted for its hardness; the most expensive of the platinum group (see PLATINUM GROUP METALS).