Glossary Of Metallurgical Terms
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Alloying Elements
is used to deoxidize steel and control grain size. Grain size control is affected by forming a fine dispersion with nitrogen and oxygen which restricts austenite grain growth. Aluminum is also an extremely effective nitride former in nitriding steels.
 
lowers transition temperature and raises the strength of low carbon steel. Niobium increases strength at elevated temperatures, results in finer grain size and forms stable carbides, lowering the hardenability of the steel.
 
increases the strength, hardness and machinability of steel, but it decreases the ductility and toughness. In aluminum killed steels, nitrogen combines with the aluminum to provide grain size control, thereby improving both toughness and strength. Nitrogen can reduce the effect of boron on the hardenability of steels.
 
is generally restricted to below 0.04 weight percent to minimize its detrimental effect on ductility and toughness. Certain steels may contain higher levels to enhance machinability, strength and/or atmospheric corrosion resistance.
 
is one of the principal deoxidizers with the amount used dependent on the deoxidization practice. It slightly increases the strength of ferrite without a serious loss of ductility. In larger quantities, it aids the resistance to scaling up to 500°F in air and decreases magnetic hysteresis loss.
 
is detrimental to transverse strength and impact resistance. It affects longitudinal properties to a lesser degree. Existing primarily in the form of manganese sulfide stringers, sulfur is typically added to improve machinability.
 
is added to boron steels because it combines with oxygen and nitrogen, thus increasing the effectiveness of boron. Titanium, as titanium nitride, also provides grain size control at elevated temperatures in microalloy steels. In excess, titanium is detrimental to machinability and internal cleanness.
 
is added to steel to modify sulfide type inclusion size, morphology and distribution. The resulting sulfide type inclusions are finer and remain ellipsoidal in shape following hot working, thereby improving transverse properties.
 
inhibits grain growth during heat treating while improving strength and toughness of hardened and tempered steels. Additions up to .05% increase hardenability whereas larger amounts tend to reduce hardenability because of carbide formation. Vanadium is also utilized in ferrite/pearlite microalloy steels to increase hardness through carbonitride precipitation strengthening of the matrix.
 
Standard Mill Terminology
A treatment consisting of heating uniformly to a temperature, within or above the critical range, and cooling at a controlled rate to a temperature under the critical range. This treatment is used to produce a definite microstructure, usually one designed for best machinability, and/or to remove stresses, induce softness, and alter ductility, toughness or other mechanical properties.
 
A solid semi-finished round or square that has been hot worked usually smaller than a bloom. This is also a general term for wrought starting stock for forgings or extrusions.
 
A semi-finished hot rolled rectangular product. The width of the bloom is no more than twice the thickness and the cross-sectional area is usually not less than 36 square inches.
 
In tensile testing, the increase in gage length, measured after the fracture of a specimen within the gage length, usually expressed as a percentage of the original gage length.
 
Resistance of a metal to plastic deformation, usually by indentation. However, this may also refer to stiffness or temper or to resistance to scratching, abrasion, or cutting.
 
A test to determine the behavior of materials when subjected to high rates of loading, usually in bending, tension or torsion. The quantity measured is the energy absorbed in breaking the specimen by a single blow, as in the Charpy or Izod tests.
 
A casting of a simple shape which can be used for hot working or remelting.
 
Steel treated with a strong deoxidizer to reduce oxygen to a level where no reaction occurs between carbon and oxygen during solidification.
 
A surface imperfection which appears as a seam. It is caused by the folding over of hot metal, fins, or sharp corners and then rolling or forging them into the surface but not welding them. Laps on tubes can form from seams on piercing mill billets.
 
This is a generic term for describing the ability of a material to be machined. To be meaningful, machinability must be qualified in terms of tool wear, tool life, chip control, and/or surface finish and integrity. Overall machining performance is affected by a myriad of variables relating to the machining operation and the workpiece. An overall review is provided in the ASM Metals Handbook: Machinability, Ninth Edition, Volume 16, 1989.
 
A treatment consisting of heating uniformly to temperature at least 100 °F above the critical range and cooling in still air at room temperature. The treatment produces a recrystallization and refinement of the grain structure and gives uniformity in hardness and structure to the product.
 
An operation by which surface oxide (scale) is removed by chemical action. Sulfuric acid is typically used for carbon and low-alloy steels. After the acid bath, the steel is rinsed in water.
 
A treatment consisting of heating uniformly to a predetermined temperature and cooling rapidly in air or liquid medium to produce a desired crystalline structure.
 
The difference, expressed as a percentage of original area, between the original cross-sectional area of a tensile test specimen and the minimum cross-sectional area measured after complete separation.
 
Incompletely deoxidized steel which contains enough dissolved oxygen to react with the carbon to form carbon monoxide to offset solidification shrinkage.
 
A special type of annealing that requires an extremely long cycle. This treatment is used to produce globular carbides and maximum softness for best machinability in some analyses, or to improve cold formability.
 
A thermal treatment to restore elastic properties and to minimize distortion on subsequent machining or hardening operations. This treatment is usually applied to material that has been heat treated (quenched and tempered). Normal practice would be to heat to a temperature 100°F lower than the tempering temperatures used to establish mechanical properties and hardness. Ordinarily, no straightening is performed after the stress relieving temper.
 
A treatment consisting of heating uniformly to a predetermined temperature under the critical range, and holding at that temperature for a designated period of time and cooling in air or liquid. This treatment is used to produce one or more of the following end results: A) to soften material for subsequent machining or cold working, B) to improve ductility and relieve stresses resulting from prior treatment or cold working, and C) to produce the desired mechanical properties or structure in the second step of a double treatment.
 
In tensile testing, the ratio of maximum load to original cross-sectional area.
 
The first stress in a material, usually less than the maximum attainable stress, at which an increase in strain occurs without an increase in stress. If there is a decrease in stress after yielding, a distinction may be made between upper and lower yield points.
 
The stress at which a material exhibits a specified deviation from proportionality of stress and strain. An offset of .2% is commonly used.
 
Information adapted from ASM and/or SAE publications.
 
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