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The process of heating steel and then cooling it slowly at a set rate to produce the desired strength and formability.


Alloy steels

Alloy steels have enhanced properties due to the presence of 1 or more special elements, or to the presence of larger proportion of elements such as manganese and silicon than are present in carbon steels.


Apparent consumption

Total shipments minus exports plus imports of steel.



An air pollution control device used to trap particles by filtering gas streams through large cloth or fiberglass bags.

Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF)

The chief method of producing steel. Molten iron from the blast furnace is combined with steel scrap in the BOF. Pure oxygen is blown into the furnace at high velocity to speed combustion and refine the iron and scrap.


A semi-finished steel product that has been rolled or forged from an ingot or strand cast. It is smaller and longer than a bloom, usually a square cross section less than 36 square inches. Bars, pipes, wire and wire products are made from billets.


Blast furnace

The furnace used to produce iron. Iron ore, coke and limestone are heated to temperatures in excess of 3,000° F by blasts of hot air. The coke burns, emitting gases that reduce the ore to metallic iron. The limestone combines with impurities and forms slag.



A semi-finished steel product that has been rolled or forged from an ingot or strand cast. It usually has a square cross section exceeding 36 square inches. Blooms are frequently used in the manufacture of building beams and columns.



A finished steel product, commonly in flat, square, round or hexagonal shapes. Rolled from billets, bars are produced in two major types, merchant and special.


Basic oxygen steelmaking

The process whereby hot metal and steel scrap are charged into a basic oxygen furnace (BOF). High purity oxygen is then blown into the metal bath, combining with carbon and other elements to reduce the impurities in the molten charge and convert it into steel.



A settling tank where solids are mechanically removed from waste water.


Cold drawing

The process of reducing the cross-sectional diameter of tubes or wire by drawing them through dies without heating the material.


Cold rolling

After hot rolling, annealing and pickling, coils are cold rolled to reduce them to the proper thickness for sale or additional processing. The passing of sheet or strip that has previously been hot rolled and pickled through cold rolls, i.e. below the softening temperature of the metal. Cold Rolling makes a product that is thinner, smoother, and stronger than can be made by hot rolling alone.


Continuous casting

A faster method of making steel than traditional methods. A caster accepts molten steel from the basic oxygen furnace and casts it into slabs, blooms or billets, which are then sent to a finishing mill. The caster eliminates the need to pour liquid steel into ingots and can literally accept pours on a continuous basis.


Cooling towers

They are used to reduce the temperature of water that is used in processing iron and steel products.



The process of forming tubular or closed-cylindrical products from a flat plate. The plate is heated prior to forming.


Carbon steels

The largest percentage of steel production. Common grades have a carbon content ranging from 0.06% to 1.0%.



The primary fuel of integrated iron and steel producers.



A form of carbonized coal burned in blast furnaces to reduce iron ore pellets or other iron-bearing materials to molten iron.


Coke ovens

Ovens which produce coke. Coal is usually dropped into the ovens through openings in the roof, and heated by gas burning in flues in the walls between ovens within the coke oven battery. After heating about 18 hours, the end doors are removed and a ram pushes the coke into a quenching car for cooling before delivery to the blast furnace.



A finished steel product such as sheet or strip which has been wound or coiled after rolling.


Continuous casting

A process for solidifying steel in the form of a continuous strand rather than individual ingots. Molten steel is poured into open-bottomed, water-cooled molds. As the molten steel passes through the mold, the outer shell solidifies.


Crude steel

Steel in the first solid state after melting, suitable for further processing or for sale. Synonymous to raw steel.


Direct reduction

A family of processes for making iron from ore without exceeding the melting temperature. No blast furnace is needed.


Electric Arc Furnace (EAF)

A method of producing steel to exact specifications. Steel scrap, limestone and other additives are placed in the furnace. Three carbon electrodes are lowered into the furnace until they meet the cold scrap. Electric arcs then produce intense heat, transforming the scrap into molten steel.


Electrical steels

Specially manufactured cold rolled sheet and strip containing silicon, processed to develop definite magnetic characteristics for use by the electrical industry.


Flat products

A term referring to a class of products including sheet, strip and plate that are made from slabs.


Galvanized steel

The product produced when hot or cold rolled sheet or strip is coated with zinc either by the hot-dipping or electrolytic deposition process. Zinc coating applied by the hot dip method is normally heavy enough to resist corrosion without additional protective coating. Materials electrolytically galvanized are not used for corrosion resistant applications without subsequent chemical treatment and painting except in mild corrosive conditions, due to the thin coating of zinc. Galvanize is a pure zinc coating. A special heat-treating process converts the pure zinc coating to a zinc/iron alloy coating, and the product is known as Galvanneal.


Hot extrusion

The forming of material of continuous cross section by forcing it through a die in a press.


Hot rolling

The process of reheating slabs, billets or blooms and running them through a series of hot mills, where they are reduced to an intermediate thickness and then coiled.


Hot metal

Molten iron produced in the blast furnace.


Hot rolling

Rolling semi-finished steel after it has been re-heated.


Integrated steelmaker

A producer that converts iron ore into semi-finished or finished steel products. Traditionally, this required coke ovens, blast furnaces, steelmaking furnaces, and rolling mills. A growing number of integrated mills use the direct reduction process to produce sponge iron without coke ovens and blast furnaces.


Iron ore

The primary raw material in the manufacture of steel.



Metal that is cast into a mold, weighing as much as 30 tons. Molten steel is poured from a ladle into an ingot mold. Once it hardens, the steel is rolled or forged into a bloom, billet or slab.



A term used to describe a steel producer that has ironmaking and steelmaking capabilities as well as the ability to process steel into finished products. An integrated producer typically operates a blast furnace to make iron and has casting, rolling and other equipment to make semi-finished and finished steel products.


Ladle metallurgy

The process whereby conditions (temperature, pressure and chemistry) are controlled within the ladle of the steelmaking furnace to improve productivity in preceeding and subsequent steps and the quality of the final product.



Used by the steel industry to remove impurities from the iron made in blast furnaces. Magnesium-containing limestone, called dolomite, is also sometimes used in the purifying process.


Line pipe

Used for transportation of gas, oil or water generally in a pipeline or utility distribution system.


Mechanical tubing

Welded or seamless tubing produced in a large number of shapes to closer tolerances than other pipe.



A small non-integrated or semi-integrated steel plant, generally based on electric arc furnace steelmaking. Minimills produce rods, bars, small structural shapes and flat rolled products.



A shaft on which steel that has been previously bored is mounted for turning and milling. It also can be a rod that is used to retain the cavity in hollow metal products during further processing.


Net ton

See ton


Oil country tubular goods (OCTG)

Pipe used in wells in oil and gas industries, consisting of casing, tubing, and drill pipe. Casing is the structural retainer for the walls; tubing is used within casing oil wells to convey oil to ground level; drill pipe is used to transmit power to a rotary drilling tool below ground level.


Open-hearth process

A process for making steel from molten iron and scrap. The open-hearth process has been replaced by the basic oxygen process in most modern facilities.



The process of chemically removing scale or oxide from metal products to obtain a clean surface.



The process used to make seamless pipe and tubing from semi-finished products, called tube rounds.


Pig iron

A metallic product from the blast furnace containing more than 90 percent iron. It is used directly in the manufacture of steel. The term arose from the old-fashioned method of casting blast-furnace iron into molds that resembled a litter of suckling pigs.



Production of a superior finish on a previously rolled or forged product, accomplished by passing the steel bar or other product through chill cast or hardened steel rolls or by hammering with a smooth-faced hammer.



An enriched form of iron ore shaped into small balls.


Pig iron

High carbon iron made by the reduction of iron ore in the blast furnace.



A flat rolled product rolled from slabs or ingots, of greater thickness than sheet or strip.


Reversing mill

Rolling mill designed so the direction the rolls are turning can be reversed following each pass of the steel. This rotation can be repeated until the desired reduction is attained.


Roughing stand

Mill used for preliminary rolling.


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.


Semi-finished products

Products such as slabs, billets, and blooms which must be rolled or otherwise processed to create usable steel shapes.



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.



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



A wide semi-finished product made from an ingot or by continuous casting. Flat rolled steel products are made from slabs.


Sponge iron

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


Stainless steels

Stainless steels offer a superior corrosion resistance due to the addition of chromium and/or nickel to the molten steel.


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.



A flat rolled product customarily narrower in width than sheet, and often produced to more closely controlled thicknesses.


Structural shapes

Rolled flange sections, sections welded form plates, and special sections with at least one dimension of their cross-section 3 inches or greater. Included are angles, beams, channels, tees and zees.


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.



Steel sheet or plate from which welded tubing or pipe is made.



A semi-finished steel product that is hot-rolled down from an ingot or strand cast. It is wide and rectangular in shape. Slabs are used in the manufacture of sheets, strip, plates and other flat-rolled steel products.


Strand casting

This method uses a caster machine. Molten steel is transferred from a ladle into a reservoir, called a tundish. From there, the steel flows into molds of a continuous casting machine. As the metal is water cooled, it solidifies into one long strand and then is cut to length by torches.


Tin coated steel

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



a) A unit of weight in the U.S. Customary System, an avoirdupois unit equal to 2,240 pounds. Also known as long ton.
b) A unit of weight in the U.S. Customary System, an avoirdupois unit equal to 2,000 pounds. Also known as short ton. Also known as net ton.



A metric ton, equivalent to 1,000 kilograms.


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.




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