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Glossary

Alloy
An alloy is a solid solution or homogeneous mixture of two or more elements, at least one of which is a metal, which itself has metallic properties. It usually has different properties from those of its component elements. Alloying one metal with others often enhances its properties. For instance, steel is stronger than iron, its primary element.
Aluminum
Next to steel, Aluminum is the most commonly used and commercially available metal. Its light weight and high strength-to-weight ratio make it a good choice for everything from aircraft to flashlights to jigs to just about anything else you can make out of metal. Aluminum is produced in several heat temper grades including 6061-0, 6061-T4 and 6061-T6.
Aluminum (2024)
2024 is an aluminum alloy, with copper and magnesium as the alloying elements. It is used in applications requiring high strength to weight ratio, as well as good fatigue resistance. It is not weldable, and has average machinability.
Aluminum (3003)
Available in sheet (i.e. diamond tread plate).
Aluminum (5052)
Available in sheet. 5052 is the alloy most suited to forming operations, with good workability and higher strength than that of the 1100 or 3003 alloys that are commercially available. 5052 is not heat-treatable, but is stronger than most of the 5xxx series of alloys. It has very good corrosion resistance, and can be easily welded. 5052 is not a good choice for extensive machining operations, as it has only a fair machinability rating.
Aluminum (6061)
Available in Angle, Channel, I-Beam, Pipe, Plate, Rectangle, Round, Sheet, Square, Tube. 6061 Aluminum is, by most any measure, the most commonly used aluminum alloy. It is specified in most any application due to its strength, heat treatability, comparatively easy machining, and weldability. If that were not enough, it is also capable of being anodized, adding a layer of protection for finished parts. The main alloy ingredients of 6061 aluminum are magnesium and silicon.
Aluminum (6063)
(see also architectural aluminum)
Available in Angle, Channel, Rectangle Tube, Square Tube. 6063 is often called architectural aluminum for two reasons - first, it has a surface finish that is far smoother than the other commercially available alloys, and second, its strength is significantly less (roughly half the strength of 6061), making it suited for applications where strength is not the foremost consideration. 6063 is rated as "Good" for forming and cold working operations, "Excellent" for anodizing, and "Fair" for machining.
Architectual Aluminum
(see also 6063 aluminum)
Available in Angle, Channel, Rectangle Tube, Square Tube. 6063 is often called architectural aluminum for two reasons - first, it has a surface finish that is far smoother than the other commercially available alloys, and second, its strength is significantly less (roughly half the strength of 6061), making it suited for applications where strength is not the foremost consideration. 6063 is rated as "Good" for forming and cold working operations, "Excellent" for anodizing, and "Fair" for machining.
ATP-5
(see also Cast Aluminum Tooling Plate, K100, MIC-6, Jig-plate)
Cast tooling plate is highly versatile and can be used for a wide range of manufacturing applications. It offers very consistent mechanical and dimensional characteristics and is often the product of choice when flatness and dimensional control are critical. It has outstanding machinability and excellent high speed cutting rates. It also offers superior anodizing and hardening response, excellent weldability and a high strength to weight ratio.
Carbon Steel
(see also Steel, Hot Rolled Steel, Cold Rolled Steel)
Cast Aluminum Tooling Plate
(see also ATP-5, K100, MIC-6, Jig-plate)
Cast tooling plate is highly versatile and can be used for a wide range of manufacturing applications. It offers very consistent mechanical and dimensional characteristics and is often the product of choice when flatness and dimensional control are critical. It has outstanding machinability and excellent high speed cutting rates. It also offers superior anodizing and hardening response, excellent weldability and a high strength to weight ratio.
Chromoly Steel (4130)
41xx steel is a family of high-strength low-alloy (HSLA) steels, as specified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Alloying elements include chromium and molybdenum, and as a result these materials are often referred to as chromoly steel. They have an excellent strength to weight ratio, are easily welded and are considerably stronger and more durable than standard 1020 steel. While these grades of steel do contain chromium, it is not in great enough quantities to provide the corrosion resistance found in stainless steel. Common uses of 4130 tubing include automotive and bicycle frames, roll cages and aircraft parts.
Cold Rolled Steel
(see also Steel, Carbon Steel, Hot Rolled Steel)
Steel that is rolled to its final dimensions well below scaling temperatures so it is harder and stronger and has tighter tolerances than hot rolled steel.
DOM Steel
DOM stands for Drawn-over-mandrel and it is a cold drawn electric resistance welded tube with all the flash removed. Each tube is tested for soundness of weld. DOM is often chosen over seamless tubing because of its excellent concentric OD (outer diameter) and ID (inner diameter) measurements.
Ductility
A mechanical property used to describe the extent to which materials can be deformed plastically without fracture.
Electro-Galvanized
A zinc plating process where the molecules on the positively charged zinc anode attach to the negatively charged steel sheet - electroplated. This process helps protect against corrosion and offers an excellent finish for paint, enamel and lacquered applications. This is similar to hot-dipped galvanized but electroplating offers a superior appearance and a better finish for close fitting parts.
Galvanized
Commonly known as hot-dipped galvanized, this is a process that is used to apply a coat of zinc to steel. This process is similar to Electro-galvanized which is when the zinc is applied to the steel through electroplating. Hot dipping will give much better corrosion resistance because the zinc coating will be much thicker than with the electro-galvanized process and consequently often a better product for outdoor applications.
Galvannealed
(see also Jet-Coat, Paintlok)
Is the result from the combined process of galvanizing and annealing the steel. The galvanization is made through the hot-dipping (Hot-dip galvanizing) process and gives a very fine grayish matte finish. Galvanneal does not flake off its galvanized coating when formed, stamped, and bent. The very fine matte finish acts like a primer, easily adheres to paint, and is very rust proof; only white to dark grey marks appear if it comes in contact with water. Galvanneal sheets offers good paintability, weldability, corrosion resistance, and formability. It is extensively used in the automotive, signage, electric equipment, and other industries requiring a metal with good paintability and long reliable service life.
Hardenability
The hardenability of a metal alloy is its capability to be hardened by heat treatment. It should not be confused with hardness, which is a measure of the material's resistance to indentation or scratching. It is an important property for welding, since it is inversely proportional to weldability, that is, the ease of welding a material.
Hot Rolled Steel
(see also Steel, Carbon Steel, Cold Rolled Steel)
Steel that is rolled to its final dimensions while hot enough to scale (over 1700 degrees);
Jet-Coat
(see also Galvannealed, Paintlok)
Is the result from the combined process of galvanizing and annealing the steel. The galvanization is made through the hot-dipping (Hot-dip galvanizing) process and gives a very fine grayish matte finish. Galvanneal does not flake off its galvanized coating when formed, stamped, and bent. The very fine matte finish acts like a primer, easily adheres to paint, and is very rust proof; only white to dark grey marks appear if it comes in contact with water. Galvanneal sheets offers good paintability, weldability, corrosion resistance, and formability. It is extensively used in the automotive, signage, electric equipment, and other industries requiring a metal with good paintability and long reliable service life.
Jig-plate
(see also Cast Aluminum Tooling Plate, ATP-5, K100, MIC-6)
Cast tooling plate is highly versatile and can be used for a wide range of manufacturing applications. It offers very consistent mechanical and dimensional characteristics and is often the product of choice when flatness and dimensional control are critical. It has outstanding machinability and excellent high speed cutting rates. It also offers superior anodizing and hardening response, excellent weldability and a high strength to weight ratio.
K100
(see also Cast Aluminum Tooling Plate, ATP-5, MIC-6, Jig-plate)
Cast tooling plate is highly versatile and can be used for a wide range of manufacturing applications. It offers very consistent mechanical and dimensional characteristics and is often the product of choice when flatness and dimensional control are critical. It has outstanding machinability and excellent high speed cutting rates. It also offers superior anodizing and hardening response, excellent weldability and a high strength to weight ratio.
Machinability
The ease with which a metal can be machined to an acceptable surface finish. Materials with good machinability require little power to cut, can be cut quickly, easily obtain a good finish, and do not wear the tooling much; such materials are said to be free machining.
MIC-6
(see also Cast Aluminum Tooling Plate, ATP-5, K100, Jig-plate)
Cast tooling plate is highly versatile and can be used for a wide range of manufacturing applications. It offers very consistent mechanical and dimensional characteristics and is often the product of choice when flatness and dimensional control are critical. It has outstanding machinability and excellent high speed cutting rates. It also offers superior anodizing and hardening response, excellent weldability and a high strength to weight ratio.
P & O Steel
(see also Pickled & Oiled Steel)
P & O stands for pickled and oiled and occurs when hot rolled steel is pickled in acid to remove the mill scale and then oiled to keep it from rusting.
Paintability
The ease with which a metal can be painted with an acceptable surface finish.
Paintlok
(see also Jet-Coat, Galvannealed)
Is the result from the combined process of galvanizing and annealing the steel. The galvanization is made through the hot-dipping (Hot-dip galvanizing) process and gives a very fine grayish matte finish. Galvanneal does not flake off its galvanized coating when formed, stamped, and bent. The very fine matte finish acts like a primer, easily adheres to paint, and is very rust proof; only white to dark grey marks appear if it comes in contact with water. Galvanneal sheets offers good paintability, weldability, corrosion resistance, and formability. It is extensively used in the automotive, signage, electric equipment, and other industries requiring a metal with good paintability and long reliable service life.
Pickled and Oiled Steel
(see also P & O Steel)
P & O stands for pickled and oiled and occurs when hot rolled steel is pickled in acid to remove the mill scale and then oiled to keep it from rusting.
Schedule 40
In the United States, "Schedule" refers to the thickness of the pipe wall and, therefore, how much pressure it will hold.
Spangle
Spangle is used to describe the surface appearance of galvanized steel sheet. It is often described as a snowflake pattern or the star pattern that is visible to the naked eye.
Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 10% chromium content by mass.
  1. Stainless steel does not stain, corrode, or rust as easily as ordinary steel (it stains less), but it is not stain-proof.
  2. It is also called corrosion-resistant steel or CRES when the alloy type and grade are not detailed, particularly in the aviation industry. There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel to suit the environment to which the material will be subjected in its lifetime. Common uses of stainless steel are cutlery and watch straps.

Stainless steel differs from carbon steel by amount of chromium present. Carbon steel rusts when exposed to air and moisture. This iron oxide film is active and accelerates corrosion by forming more iron oxide. Stainless steels have sufficient amount of chromium present so that a passive film of chromium oxide forms which prevents further surface corrosion and blocks corrosion spreading in the metal's internal structure.
Stainless Steel (304)
Grade 304 is the standard "18/8" stainless; it is the most versatile and most widely used stainless steel, available in a wider range of products, forms and finishes than any other. It has excellent forming and welding characteristics. The balanced austenitic structure of Grade 304 enables it to be severely deep drawn without intermediate annealing, which has made this grade dominant in the manufacture of drawn stainless parts such as sinks, hollow-ware and saucepans. Grade 304 is readily brake or roll formed into a variety of components for applications in the industrial, architectural, and transportation fields. Grade 304 also has outstanding welding characteristics.
Stainless Steel (304L)
Grade 304L is the low carbon version of 304 and it does not require post-weld annealing and so it is extensively used in heavy gauge components (typically over 6mm.)
Stainless Steel (316)
Grade 316 is the standard molybdenum-bearing grade, second in importance to 304 amongst the austenitic stainless steels. The molybdenum gives 316 better overall corrosion resistant properties than Grade 304, particularly higher resistance to pitting and crevice corrosion in chloride environments. It has excellent forming and welding characteristics.
Steel
(see also Carbon Steel, Hot Rolled Steel, Cold Rolled Steel)
Steel is an alloy of iron, carbon, and small proportions of other elements. Iron contains many impurities and steelmaking involves the removal of these impurities (known as slag,) and the addition of other desirable alloying elements. Steel comes in many alloys including 1018, 12L14, A-36, 304, A2 and 4130 to name a few.
Steel (1018)
A low-carbon steel with higher manganese content than other low carbon steels making it a better steel for carburized parts, since it produces a harder and more uniform case. It also has higher mechanical properties and better machining characteristics.
Steel (12L14)
C 12L14 is essentially resulfurized and rephosphorized screw machine stock to which lead has been added. Typical applications include fabricating parts where considerable machining is required such as bushings, inserts, couplings and hydraulic hose fittings. These grades are suitable for parts involving bending, crimping or riveting based on the ductility.
Steel (A-36)
A36, carbon steel, is a standard steel alloy which is a common structural steel used in the United States. A36 is readily welded by nearly all welding process and is also commonly bolted and riveted in structural applications.
Structural Steel
Structural steel is steel construction material, a profile, formed with a specific shape or cross section and certain standards of chemical composition and strength. Structural steel shape, size, composition, strength, storage, etc, is regulated in most industrialized countries. Common structural shapes in the U.S. include I-beam, Angle, Channel, Tee, Bar, Rod and Plate.
Tempering
Tempering is a heat treatment technique for metals, alloys and glass. In steels, tempering is done to "toughen" the metal by transforming brittle martensite into bainite or a combination of ferrite and cementite. Precipitation hardening alloys, like many grades of aluminum and superalloys, are tempered to precipitate intermetallic particles which strengthen the metal. Tempering is accomplished by a controlled reheating of the work piece to a temperature below its lower critical temperature.
Tool Steel
Tool steel refers to a variety of carbon and alloy steels that are particularly well-suited to be made into tools. Their suitability comes from their distinctive hardness, resistance to abrasion, their ability to hold a cutting edge, and/or their resistance to deformation at elevated temperatures (red-hardness). Tool steel are generally used in a heat-treated state. Tool steels are made to a number of grades for different applications. Choice of grade depends on, among other things, whether a keen cutting edge is necessary, as in stamping dies, or whether the tool has to withstand impact loading and service conditions encountered with such hand tools as axes. In general, the edge temperature under expected use is an important determinant of both composition and required heat treatment. The higher carbon grades are typically used for such applications as stamping dies, metal cutting tools, etc. Tool steels are also used for special applications like injection molding because the resistance to abrasion is an important criterion for a mold that will be used to produce hundreds of thousands of parts.
Tool Steel (A2)
Grade-A refers to air hardening tool steels and is slightly more durable and 01 tool steel. Both A2 and 01 are used on larger parts or parts that require minimal distortion during hardening. The use of oil quenching and air hardening helps reducing distortion as opposed to higher stress caused by quicker water quenching. More alloying elements are used in these steels, as compared to water-hardening grades. These alloys increase the steels' hardenability, and thus require a less severe quenching process. These steels are also less likely to crack and are often used to make knife blades.
Tool Steel (O1)
Grade-O refers to oil hardening tool steels and can be honed to a slightly sharper edge than A2. Both 01 and A2 tool steels are used on larger parts or parts that require minimal distortion during hardening. The use of oil quenching and air hardening helps reducing distortion as opposed to higher stress caused by quicker water quenching. More alloying elements are used in these steels, as compared to water-hardening grades. These alloys increase the steels' hardenability, and thus require a less severe quenching process. These steels are also less likely to crack and are often used to make knife blades.
Tread Plate
Tread Plate are deep-textured, three dimensional metals used in architectural, industrial and transportation applications and offer excellent moisture resistance, weldability and machinability.
Tread Plate - 5-bar (6061)
This tread plate is defined by its pattern which has five bars crisscrossing rather than regular tread plate which is one bar crisscrossing.
Tread Plate - Embossed FTQ (3003)
This is the same product as Fire Truck Quality tread plate in all characteristics with the exception of the button pattern which has a unique modification to the top surface that creates an improved grip.
Tread Plate - Fire Truck Quality (3003)
This product was developed and introduced to the market in response to the fire truck industry’s need for a 3003-H22 diamond pattern tread plate with improved brightness and button machining characteristics. FTQ floor plate is provided in flat sheet form only to insure consistency in button shape.
Treatability
The ease with which a metal can be treated by a process or treated by some substance in processing, such as a chemical procedure.
Tubing
Tubing is used to transport fluid and gas in pneumatic, hydraulic or process applications. Tubing differs from pipe in that tubing's outside diameter or size is controlled and used for product designation
Weldability
The weldability of a material refers to its ability to be welded. Many metals and thermoplastics can be welded, but some are easier to weld than others. It greatly influences weld quality and is an important factor in choosing which welding process to use.