Click on the alphabetic index to display terms beginning with the corresponding letter or search for a term below.

Carbon Steel

Steel that is composed mostly of carbon and relies on it for its structure. It is the most widely produced steel.

Case Hardening

Hardening a ferrous alloy to make the outside (case) much harder than the inside (core). This can be done carburising, cyaniding, nitriding, carbonitriding, induction hardening, and flame hardening.

Cathodic Corrosion

Corrosion of a cathode due to hydrogen pick up.

Cathodic Inhibitor

A chemical substance that prevents or slows a cathodic or reduction reaction.

Cathodic Protection

Reducing the corrosion of a metal by making the particular surface a cathode of an electrochemical cell.


The rapid formation and depletion of air bubbles that can damage the material at the solid/liquid interface under conditions of severe turbulent flow.


The act of loading material into a furnace. For example, iron ore, coke and limestone are charged into a Blast Furnace; a Basic Oxygen Furnace is charged with scrap and hot metal.

Chemical Treatment

A chemical coating normally applied to the steel surface to resist oxide formation and corrosion.

Chloride Stress Corrosion Cracking

Cracking due to the combination of tensile stress and corrosion in the presence of water and chlorides.

Chromium (Cr)

An alloying element that is used in stainless steel to deter corrosion.


Application of a stainless steel coating to a lower-alloy steel by means of pouring, welding, or coating to increase corrosion resistance at a lower cost than using stainless steel exclusively.


A sheet of steel that has been rolled to facilitate transportation and storage.


A processed form of coal that is used as fuel in blast furnaces in the smelting of iron. Burning steadily and thoroughly, coke is very dense and will not collapse from the weight of the iron ore.

Coke Oven Battery

A combination of ovens that process coal into coke. These batteries are often the dirtiest part of a steel mill due to the exhaust fumes and emissions.

Cold Reduction

Process of rolling cold coils of pickled hot-rolled sheet through a press to make the steel stronger, thinner, and smoother by applying pressure.

Cold Working (Rolling)

Changing the structure and shape of steel by rolling, hammering, or stretching the steel at room temperature to increase the hardness and strength of the steel.

Cold-Finished Steel bars

Hot-rolled carbon steel bars with a higher surface quality and strength produced from secondary cold-reduction.

Cold-Rolled Strip (Sheet)

Pickled sheet steel that has been run through a cold-reduction mill. It has a width of approximately 12 inches while a sheet may be more than 80 inches wide. Cold-rolled steel is thinner and stronger than hot-rolled sheet and is more expensive.


The physical use of steel by end users. Consumption predicts changes in inventories, unlike demand figures.

Continuous Casting

Processes of pouring steel into a billet, bloom, or slab directly from the furnace. This process avoids the need for large, expensive mills and also saves time because the slabs solidify in minutes rather than the several hours it takes for an ingot to form.


Steel customers demanding steel in a more finished state such as tubing, pipe, and cold-rolled strip from rerollers and tube makers. This steel is generally not contracted, causing the converter segment of the steel mill’s revenues more price sensitive than their supply contracts to auto manufacturers.


The natural degradation of steel due to atmospheric conditions or other factors.

Corrosion Fatigue

Cracking due to repeating and fluctuating stresses in a corrosive environment.

Corrosion Potential

The potential of a corroding surface in an electrolyte relative to a reference electrode under open-circuit conditions.

Corrosion Rate

The rate at which an object corrodes.

Corrosion Resistance

A metal’s ability to resist corrosion in a particular environment.


Strain caused by stress that occurs over time.

Crevice Corrosion

Corrosion of a metal surface that is fully shielded from the environment but corrodes because it is so close to the surface of another metal.

Critical Pitting Potential

The lowest value of oxidising potential at which pits can form and grow. The value depends on the test method used.


Cutting flat-rolled steel into a desired length and then normally shipped flat-stacked.

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