Technical reference page - glossary of steel industry terms.
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Steel Industry Glossary of Terms

Technical glossary - jargon made simple



Glossary TermGlossary Explanation
PAHPolycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. These may be emitted during electric steelmaking to the air, and thus represent a potential health hazard in EAF operations
PassivationChanging of a chemically reactive metal surface to a less reactive state, typically through chemical treatment
PCIPulverised coal injection - a process increasingly used in blast furnaces, typically offering substantial economic benefits through greater use of coal and proportionately less use of metallurgical coke
PicklingRemoval of mill scale by mechanical and chemical means
Pig ironA key intermediate material in the integrated (converter-based) steelmaking process, pig iron is the product of smelting iron ore, coke and limestone in a blast furnace. Merchant pig iron is sometimes used as as substitute for scrap in EAF steelmaking, when there is a need to control residuals
PPGIPre-painted galvanised iron, a common term for pre-painted hot dip galvanised steel - also known as organic coated sheet [OCS] or prepainted sheet
PPPLCommon abbreviation for push-pull pickling line
Price cycleRefers to the well-established phenomenon of cyclicality in international steel price movements. Although no cycle is ever identical, this cyclicality has in recent years been characterised by price swings from peak to trough of 25% or more, and by a periodicity (from peak to peak, or trough to trough) of approx. two years
Proof stressThe stress that will give rise to a specified permanent extension of the material undergoing a tensile test. The 0.2% proof stress is most commonly quoted
Quarto PlateSteel plate that is usually made on a one- or two-stand four-high plate mill. Quarto plate is usually wide and in straight lengths rather than coiled
QuenchingRapid cooling - typically undertaken to obtained a specific property such as increased hardness of steel
REACHAcronym for 'Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals', an initiative introduced by the European Commission to improve the protection of the environment from chemical hazards
ReductionChemical removal of oxygen. Thus direct reduced iron (DRI) is formed through the reduction of iron oxide
Reduction ratioTypically refers to extent of area compression in the production of hot rolled bar. Reduction ratios of 15:1 used to be the norm for quality applications (e.g. engineering steels) some 10-20 years ago, but even this expectation has fallen with the advent of modern continuous casting practices. Reduction ratios as low as 8:1 are currently acceptable for many high quality long product applications
ResidualsRefer to so-called tramp elements such as copper and tin, which are typically introduced into the steelmaking process in the form of unsorted or contaminated scrap and which can impair the physical and mechanical properties of steel
RefractoryAdjective refers to an ability to retain strength at high temperature. Noun describes the material. In the steel industry, refractory materials are used for furnace linings
RodRefers to small cross-section bar, typically ~5.5 to ~13.5mm diameter that is coiled after rolling. Also known as Wire Rod
SAWSubmerged arc welding - a welding process that uses the heat of an electric arc to melt an electrode held adjacent to a workpiece under a blanket of granular flux [hence 'submerged']
SBQSpecial bar quality - an American term for engineering steel
ScaleOxide layer which forms on a steel surface at high temperatures
ScarfingThe removal of surface defects, usually on semi-products by flame cutting methods. Can be carried out in-line during primary rolling when it is referred to as hot scarfing
SemiColloquialism used in reference to semi-finished steel, i.e. ingot, bloom, billet or slab
Sequence castingProcess of casting two or more heats of the same grade of steel in succession through a continuous caster in order to reduce yield losses
Sheet pilingPiling based on use of thin interlocking sheets of steel to obtain a continuous barrier in earth or sand
Short tonUnit of weight commonly used in the USA and which refers to 2000 pounds. A short ton is equivalent to ~0.907 metric tonnes. See also glossary entry for tonne
Silicon steelAnother term for electrical steel - steel with particular electrical and magnetic properties that makes it especially suited to use in cores of electrical transformers, electrical motors, generators etc
SinteringA process in which fine materials (typically iron ore fines and coke breeze) are combined into a porous mass that can be used in the blast furnace
SkelpNarrow or medium-width hot rolled strip (generally 200-700mm in width) commonly used for the production of welded tube
Sponge ironA metallic product made by direct reduction of iron, via the removal of oxygen from iron ore. Sponge iron is also known as DRI, or direct reduced iron
SlabSemi-finished steel product - the main intermediate material in the production of flat rolled steel. Slab, typically ~150-400 mm thick, is usually hot rolled into plate or into hot rolled coil
SSCSteel service centre. A typical SSC in the industrialised world may offer customers mechanical services (e.g. cutting, slitting, sawing, shearing, grinding, polishing, drilling, corrugating, edge-shaping, pressing, blanking), advisory services (CAD, material selection, testing, expert technical support) and / or inventory support (bar-coding, storage, JIT, etc)
StainlessAn alloy of carbon and iron that has a minimum chromium content of 10.5 percent
Steckel MillSheet rolling mill that reduces steel gauge by repeated reversal of rolling action. Heated coil boxes at each end allow the steel to be reheated prior to each reversing pass through the Steckel mill's stands
StrandA combination of individual steel wires that are specially twisted together. Individual strands are often combined in the manufacture of steel rope
Strip mill productsHot and cold rolled steel coil, sheet and / or strip