Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Steel. . .
But Were Afraid to Ask


Copyright Michelle Applebaum Research, Inc
2003-2006
All rights reserved.
June 2006
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


B

BAGHOUSE  
An air pollutant control device used to trap particles by filtering gas streams through large cloth
or fiberglass bags.  
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BAKE HARDENABLE STEEL
A cold-rolled, low-carbon sheet steel used for automotive body panel applications.  Because of
special processing, the steel has good stamping and strength characteristics, and, after paint is
baked on, improved dent resistance.  
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BASIC OXYGEN FURNACE (BOF)

What?
A pear-shaped furnace, lined with refractory bricks, that refines molten iron from the blast
furnace and scrap into steel.  Up to 30% of the charge into the BOF can be scrap, with hot metal
accounting for the rest.
 

Why?
BOFs, which can refine a heat (batch) of steel in less than 45 minutes, replaced open-hearth
furnaces in the 1950s; the latter required five to six hours to process the metal.  The BOF’s rapid
operation, lower cost, and ease of control give it a distinct advantage over previous methods.

How?
Scrap is dumped into the furnace vessel, followed by the hot metal from the blast furnace.  A
lance is lowered from above, through which blows a high-pressure stream of oxygen to cause
chemical reactions that separate impurities as fumes or slag.  Once refined, the liquid steel and
slag are poured into separate containers.
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BAR TURNING  
Involves machining a metal bar into a smaller diameter.
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BARS
Long steel products that are rolled from billets.  Merchant bar and reinforcing bar (rebar) are two
common categories of bars, where merchants include rounds, flats, angles, squares, and
channels that are used by fabricators to manufacture a wide variety of products such as
furniture, stair railings, and farm equipment.  Rebar is used to strengthen concrete in highways,
bridges, and buildings.
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BENDING 3
The forming of metals into various angles.
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BILLET
A semi-finished steel form that is used for “long” products:  bars, channels or other structural
shapes.  A billet is different from a slab because of its outer dimensions; billets are normally
two to seven inches square, while slabs are 30 inches to 80 inches wide and two inches to ten
inches thick.  Both shapes are generally continually cast, but they may differ greatly in their
chemistry.  
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BLACK PLATE
Cold-reduced sheet steel, 12 inches to 32 inches wide, that serves as the substrate (raw
material) to be coated in the tin mill.  
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BLAST FURNACE
A towering cylinder lined with heat-resistant (refractory) bricks, used by integrated steel mills to
smelt iron from iron ore.  Its name comes from the “blast” of hot air and gases forced up through
the iron ore, coke, and limestone that load the furnace.  
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BLANKING
An early step in preparing flat-rolled steel for use by an end user.  A blank is a section of sheet
that has the same outer dimensions as a specified part (such as a car door or hood), but that
has not yet been stamped.  Steel processors may offer blanking for their customers to reduce
their labor and transportation costs; excess steel can be trimmed prior to shipment.  
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BLOOM
A semi-finished steel form, with a rectangular cross-section that is more than 8”.  This large
cast steel shape is broken down in the mill to produce the familiar I-beams, H-beams, and
sheet piling.  Blooms are also part of the high-quality bar manufacturing process:  Reduction of
a bloom to a much smaller cross-section can improve the quality of the metal.  
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BREAKOUT
An accident caused by the failure of the walls of the hearth of the blast furnace, resulting in liquid
iron or slag (or both) flowing uncontrolled out of the blast furnace.  
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BROWNFIELD EXPANSION
A “brownfield” contrasts to a “greenfield” (or a facility new from the ground up).  A brownfield
expansion means adding on to an existing facility.
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BURR
The very subtle ridge on the edge of strip steel left by cutting operations such as slitting,
trimming, shearing, or blanking.  For example, as a steel processor trims the sides of the sheet
steel parallel or cuts a sheet of steel into strips, its edges will bend with the direction of the cut
(see Edge Rolling).  
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BUSHELING
Scrap consisting of sheet clips and stampings from metal production.  This term arose from the
practice of collecting the material in bushel baskets through World War II.  
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BUTT-WELD PIPE
The standard pipe used in plumbing.  Heated skelp is passed continuously through welding
rolls, which form the tube and squeeze the hot edges together to make a solid weld.
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Source: Weirton Steel Glossary

Source: Dofasco Glossary of Terms

Source: Reliance Steel 10-K

Source: BlueScope Steel Glossary of Terms

Source: Allegheny Technologies 10-K

Source: Alcoa 10-K

Source: Alcan 10-K
                                                                       

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