Dictionary Of Steel

The Dictionary Of Steel, Part 3: Q to Z

Monday October 9th, 2017 | Francesco Grillo | Expertise

Why does stainless steel rust easily? Why stainless steel is so hard? What is austenitic stainless steel? Martensitic stainless steel? Can Stainless steel be used in water after special treatment?

Steel is present in our daily lives, but we lack skills to understand the different material, type, manufacturing process, ect.. In order for us to have a deeper understanding of stainless steel,  this article brings together technical terms and their definition. Now, you can become experts in stainless steel in 10 minutes!


Please notice that you might be interested in the other parts of the dictionary:

  • Part 1 (A to H)

  • Part 2 (I to P)


A guide to the language of steel: Q to Z (Part 3)


Real consumption: For any country or region, apparent consumption for such country or region adjusted for inventory changes or stockists and end users.

Refining stand: A stage in the process of making crude steel, during which the crude steel is further refined (i.e. most residual impurities are removed) and additions of other metals may be made before it is cast.

Refractories: Heat resistant bricks/ shapes/ monolithic mass used for construction/ lining of reaction vessels/ furnaces. They can be silica, magnesite, dolomite, alumina, fire-clay, mag-carbon and mag-chrome etc.

Re-rollable Scrap: Seconds & defective steel products. Already used steel products such as used rails could be directly used for re- rolling (without resorting to re-melting) into finished products for specified applications.

Rolling mill: Equipment that reduces and transforms the shape of semi-finished or intermediate steel products by passing the material through a gap between rolls that is smaller than the entering materials.


Saleable Steel: The solid steel products that are sold to customers for further processing or direct use/consumption, like ingots and/or semis and/or finished steel products, but not liquid steel.

Semi-finished products: Steel products such as billet, blooms and slabs. These products can be made by direct continuous casting of hot steel or by pouring the liquid steel into ingots, which are then hot rolled into semi-finished products.

Sensitisation: A potential reduction in corrosion resistance (usually associated with intercrystalline attack) due to holding or passing through particular high temperature ranges.

Sheet: A flat rolled product over 12 inches in width and of less thickness than plate.

Sheet piling: Rolled sections with interlocking joints (continuous throughout the entire length of the piece) on each edge to permit being driven edge-to-edge to form continuous walls for retaining earth or water.

Silicon-Electrical steel: Normally contains 0.6 – 6% silicon and has certain magnetic properties. Therefore, it can be used in transformers, power generators, and electric motors. They are usually in the below 2 categories:


  • Cold Rolled Grain Oriented Silicon-electrical steel sheets/strips (CRGO)
  • Cold Rolled Non-Grain Oriented Silicon-electrical steel sheets/strips (CRNO/CRNGO)


Sinter plant: A plant in which iron ore is crushed, homogenised and mixed with limestone and coke breeze and then cooked (“sintered”) to form sinter which is the main ferrous component of blast furnace burden.

Sintering: A process which combines ores to fine for efficient blast furnace use with flux stone. The mixture is heated to form clumps, which allow better draft in the blast furnace.

Slab: A semi-finished steel product obtained by rolling ingots on a rolling mill or processed through a continuous caster and cut into various lengths. The slab has a rectangular cross section and is used as a starting material in the production process of flat products, i.e. hot rolled coils or plates.

Slag: A by-product, containing inert materials from the ‘burden’ (the materials put into the blast furnace at the beginning of the steel making process), that is produced during the melting process.

Special Steel: Steel that produced with special care, so as to attain special/desired properties, for example, cleanliness, surface qualities and mechanical/ metallurgical properties.

Sponge Iron: The product of the direct reduction process. Also known as direct reduced iron (DRI).

Stainless steels: Stainless steels are distinguished from carbon steel by their chromium (ferritic steel) content and, in certain cases, nickel (austenitic steel). Adding chromium to carbon steel makes it more rust and stain-resistant, and when nickel is added to chromium stainless steel it enhances its mechanical properties, for example its density, heat capacity and strength.

Standard pipe: Used for low-pressure conveyance of air, steam, gas, water, oil or other fluids and for mechanical applications. Used primarily in machinery, buildings, sprinkler systems, irrigation systems, and water wells rather than in pipelines or distribution systems.

Steel:  Steel is an iron based alloy which contains carbon, silicon and anganese etc.

Steel making: The process of selective oxidation of impurities present in the charge material (hot metal/Scrap/DRI) in the presence of suitable fluxes in the Steel Melting Shops (SMS).

Steel Melting Scrap: Steel waste/scrap are not usable as it still need to further re-melted to produce liquid steel to produce different products.

Stress Relieving: After cold working, heat treatment was done to reduce internal stresses and to improve resistance to stress corrosion cracking.

Stretch Forming: One of the cold forming method. A sheet is drawn into a die by a press tool and where the edges of the sheet are restrained to make deep cup or bowl shapes.

Strip: Flat steel coil products, with widths of less than 600mm for hot rolled products and less than 500mm for cold rolled products. The wider flat products are called wide strips.

Structural pipe and tubing: Welded or seamless pipe and tubing generally used for structural or load-bearing purposes above-ground by the construction industry, as well as for structural members in ships, trucks, and farm equipment.

Structural shapes: Rolled flange sections, sections welded from plates, and special sections with at least one dimension of their cross-section three inches or greater. Included are angles, beams, channels, tees and zeds.


Tempering: The second stage during the hardening/strengthening heat treatment of martensitic stainless steel. Toughness will be improved but the strength and hardness is weakened.

Thin strip continuous casting: Casting technology that takes liquid steel and casts it into solid strip in one step, thereby eliminating the need for a continuous slab caster and hot strip mill.

Tin coated steel: Cold rolled sheet, strip or plate coated with tin or chromium.

Ton (t):

  1. A unit of weight in the UK Customary System equal to 2,240 pounds. Also known as long ton.
  2. A unit of weight in the US Customary System equal to 2,000 pounds. Also known as short ton. Also known as net ton.

Tonne (T): A metric tonne, equivalent to 1,000 kilograms or 2,204.6 pounds or 1.1023 short ton.

Toughness: The ability of a material to withstand sudden impacts.


Wire rods: Coiled bars of up to 18.5 millimetres in diameter, used mainly in the production of wire.

Wire: drawn and/or rolled: The broad range of products produced by cold reducing hot-rolled steel through a die, series of dies, or through rolls to improve surface finish, dimensional accuracy and physical properties.


List of References:

Credit to British Stainless Steel Association

American Iron and Steel Institute

Callister, W., Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering, 2nd ed. (New York: Wiley & Sons, 2004), pp. 252.

Carter, C. and Norton, M., Ceramic Materials: Science and Engineering (Berlin: Springer, 2007)

Shettleworth, S., Cognition, Evolution and Behavior, 2nd. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)

Eagleson, M.,  Concise Encyclopedia Chemistry  Revised (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1994), p. 834.

Ferdinand, B. and Johnston, R., Mechanics of Materials, 2nd. (New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.: 1992), p. 51.

Reed-Hill, R. and Abbaschian, R., Physical Metallurgy Principles, 3rd  (Boston: PWS-Kent Publishing: 1991)

Rodney, P.,  Scientific American Inventions and Discoveries (New York: Wiley & Sons, 2004), p. 380.

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Written by:


Francesco Grillo

Co-founder & CEO @SteelAvailable




Lucia Chan

Business Developer @Steel Available