Glossary of Terms (Steel)

Alloy A mixture of at least two chemical elements, one or more of which is metal.
Alloy Steel A type of steel that contains at least one alloying element.
Anneal A process by which steel is softened by heating and allowed to cool slowly. This is usually carried out in order to remove stresses.
Bar Steel that has been rolled or forged into long lengths in round, flat, square or hexagonal bars.
Benzole A coal-tar product consisting mainly of benzene and toluene.
BES 6001 A certification scheme for responsible sourcing of materials, devised by the Building Research Establishment.
Billet A rectangular or square piece of rolled steel with a cross section less than 230 cm2.
Bloom A rectangular or square piece of rolled steel with a cross section greater than 230 cm2.
Boron Steel Steel with added chromium, molybdenum, vanadium and (trace) niobium, which increases the depth of hardening and improves the temper resistance.
BRE Building Research Establishment
BREEAM Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method.
Bright Drawn Steel that has been drawn through a die without pre-heating. Bright drawn steel has a smooth finish with tight tolerances.
Carbon Steel Steel composed of carbon, silicon and manganese.
Case Hardening A heating process usually carried out on low carbon and alloy steel in order to harden the outside case. Elements are infused into the steel surface, and the core is strengthened. Also known as surface hardening, or carburising.
Cast Iron An iron alloy with a carbon content of between 1.8% and 4.5%, combined with silicon and manganese. It has a lower melting temperature than steel, and is more brittle.
CE Mark Conformité Européene (European Conformity), not to be confused with CE (Chinese Export).
CEEQUAL Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment and Award Scheme
Charpy Test A test in which the energy absorbed by steel during fracture is measured.
Cold Rolled Steel Hot rolled steel that is then further processed by being re-rolled at room temperature in order to achieve exact dimensions and an improvement in surface qualities.
CPR Construction Products Regulations
Crane Rail A type of rail designed to carry cranes, usually for the purposes of freight handling.
Creep Metal failure caused by continuous stress
Cutting Edge Usually made from Boron steel, cutting edge steel is designed for use in applications that require longevity of a comparatively sharp edge, as for bulldozers, excavators, etc.
DIN Standards Deutsches Institut für Normung (Germany). DIN steel standard specifications consist of a combination of letters and numbers.
Electric Arc Furnace A furnace that uses an electric arc to melt steel, which is then usually cast into blooms, slabs or billets.
EN 1090 European standards to regulate the fabrication and assembly of steel and aluminium structure.
EN 10025 European standards regulating the technical delivery conditions for hot rolled products of structural steels.
Ferrous Any metal of which the primary constituent is iron.
Fatigue Damage caused by repeated stressing or loading.
Flame Cutting A process for cutting steel plate using an oxy-fuel gas flame.
Forging A process for shaping steel by hammering, rolling or pressing.
Grade The name of a steel as defined by its composition and properties.
Hardening Any process used to increase the hardness of steel.
Hardness The ability of a steel to resist surface penetration, usually measured by the Rockwell, Brinell, or Vickers measurements.
Heat Treatment A process that changes the properties of steel by the application of heat.
High Carbon Steel Steel with a minimum carbon content of 0.5%, suitable for heat treatment.
High Speed Steel A high quality steel with good resistance to wear and temperature.
Hot Rolled Steel Steel that has been roll-pressed at temperatures of over 1,700o F.
HP335 Rail A non-heat treated rail designed for curved track and high wear areas, manufactured to maximise wear resistance and longevity.
IEMA Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment
IET Institution of Engineering and Technology
IMechE Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Impact A test to measure energy absorption as a bar is fractured at high speed.
IOM3 Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.
IQNet 2016-2018 BSFR IQNet is an international network of certification bodies based in Switzerland. This designation covers the design, production, marketing and sale of steel sections obtained by rolling and finishing.
ISO From the Greek word ‘isos’ meaning ‘equal’.
A quality management system devised by the International Organization for Standardization.
ISO 9000 A family of standards representing an international consensus on good management practises.
ISO 14000 A family of standards representing an international consensus on good environmental management.
Lumsden Grinding A method of finishing steel plate by grinding away the surface with reciprocating or rotary grinding machines.
Manganese Steel Also known as Mangalloy, or Hadfieldsteel, Manganese Steel contains approximately 13% manganese, and is known for its high impact strength and resistance to abrasion.
Martensitic A range of magnetic stainless steels which can be hardened and tempered.
Non-Ferrous Metal Any metal that has no iron content.
Normalising A method of removing stresses from steel that involves heating the steel to a temperature above its upper critical limit for a specified time, and then allowing it to cool in air.
Oxidation Exposure to oxygen, which may cause a surface discolouration or rust.
Plasma Cutting A method of cutting stainless steel plate using a plasma torch.
Quenching The rapid cooling of steel after heating, usually by means of oil, water or air.
Rockwell A measurement of the surface hardness of steel.
Slab A rectangular piece of semi-finished rolled steel.
Slag Waste matter left over after smelting
Spheroidal Graphite Iron Also known as SG Iron, a ductile cast iron.
Spring Steel A steel with a high yield strength, frequently used in the manufacture of springs.
Stainless Steel Highly alloyed steel with good resistance to corrosion.
Steel An iron alloy containing a range of quantities of other elements, mainly carbon, silicon and manganese.
Sulphur Steel Although sulphur is usually regarded as an impurity, its addition in small quantities makes it easier to machine, and it is therefore suitable for applications that require such work.
Tempering A method of treating steel by re-heating after quenching in order to increase hardness or other mechanical properties.
Tensile Strength A measurement of the maximum load that may be applied.
Tolerances The permissible limits of variations from specifications.
Tool Steel Very hard steel suitable for tooling, offering abrasion resistance and cutting edge longevity. Tool steel includes various types, such as cold work tool steel, hot work tool steel, and plastic mould tool steel.
Tool Steel Brand Names In the past, steel producers would give their company names to the tool steel they produced.
Trackshoe A component of earth moving and other heavy caterpillar track machinery. Trackshoes are replaced from time to time as part of routine maintenance because they are subject to heavy wear.
UKAS ISO/IEC 17025 United Kingdom Accreditation Service ISO standards for the testing of the competence and testing of calibration laboratories.
UNS Unified Number System.
Werkstoff German steel specifications.
Wire Rod A metal rod from which wire is drawn.
Yield Strength The point at which steel can no longer recover to its original shape when the applied load is removed.