Steel Key Terms
Enhance your understanding of steel properties and uses through important steel key termsSteel is an integral part of most load-bearing structures and is a key component in products used every day. Composed primarily of iron and carbon, steel is a strong and durable material that can be altered to suit a variety of uses.
From stainless steel to maraging steel, steel is used in homes and in industrial settings. To ensure you understand steel fundamentals, learn about steel hardening and descaling and how steel gauge and corrosion factors affect the strength of steel by understanding essential steel key terms.
HardeningHardening is the process of applying extreme heat to steel followed by a cooling process to increase its strength. There are different methods of hardening to attain specific properties of steel.
Maraging steelMaraging steel is one of the strongest forms of steel due to high levels of iron and low levels of carbon. Durable and malleable, maraging steel is widely used for military and space applications.
GaugeThe gauge of steel refers to the thickness of the steel. Standard steel, galvanized steel and aluminum-based steel have standard gauges based on inches. Regardless of the thickness, a reliable steel has an even gauge to ensure the integrity of the steel structure.
University of North Carolina provides a chart of gauges and standardized thickness in inches.
CorrosionCorrosion is the process by which steel gradually breaks down. Corrosion is generally caused when steel is exposed over long periods of time to the elements.
DescalingSteel that is heated to extreme temperatures produces a mixture of oxygen and iron. This mixture creates "scale" on the outside of the steel. Descaling is the process of removing the scale build-up. To remove scale from steel, a salt mixture is applied before the steel is rolled into flat sheets or the rollers used to flatten the steel are rough to remove scale during the rolling process.
American Iron and Steel Institute provides more information on descaling and the processes associated with descaling.
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