Some Technical Terms Encountered While Shopping for Steel

SteelBuying your steel supply online is easy and convenient. However, the language of steel can be confusing. You need to know what the terms mean so that you can make the right choices. 

When restocking your steel supply from online sources, here are some terms you might encounter.

Stainless Steel

This is a mix of carbon and iron (steel) plus at least 10.5% of chromium to make it stainless.

Alloy Steel

This is a mix of steel with nickel, manganese and other elements to make it stronger and cheaper.


This is the most commonly used category of stainless steel. It has high levels of nickel and chromium, so it has better rust resistance than other stainless steel types. It can change shape without breaking and great for welding. You can use it to make food processing equipment, kitchen sinks and countertops, and utensils. The most common grade is type 304 and 316.

Stainless Steel Grade

This is a standard classification of stainless steel based on the materials used and the way of manufacture. The most common is the 300 series, which are a mix of stainless steel with chromium and nickel.

Cold Working

This is a way of making steel stronger by using low heat to change its shape.

Continuous Ccasting

This is a process of pouring molten steel into a copper mould so that it gradually hardens as it turns into a sheet or slab.

High-Speed Tool Steel

This steel retains its hardness at red-hot temperatures.

Coated Steel

This is steel is coated with zinc or other material to protect it from rust. The coating material bonds with the steel through heat or electricity.

Galvanized Steel

This coated steel uses zinc. It is common to put another layer of paint or plastic over this type of coated steel if the method used to bond the zinc with the steel was electricity because the zinc layer is very thin.

These are just some terms to guide you in buying your steel supply online. If you need to find out more, ask your online steel supplier for clarification.