Throughout the metal buying process, you likely run across quite a few acronyms. Metals are classified in numerous ways, and sometimes, trying to get a handle on everything can be enough to make your head spin. I've outlined a glossary of common acronyms you'll likely encounter. Knowing what these acronyms refer to will help you purchase metals more efficiently while getting you the right materials for your project.
Metallurgy 101: Acronyms
Stands for American Iron and Steel Institute. The institute serves as the voice of the North American steel industry. AISI numbers are used to categorize metals by alloy type and carbon content, and they do it with four digits. The first two digits of an AISI number refer to the alloy type, and the second two digits refer to carbon content.
Stands for American Society for Metals. ASM International is the world’s largest association of metal material engineers and scientists. The association engages and connects materials professionals and their organizations to the resources necessary to solve problems, improve outcomes, and advance society.
Stands for American Society for Testing and Materials. ASTM International is a not-for-profit organization that develops standards for materials, products, systems, and services. Metal with an ASTM designation meets the international standards for quality and regulations.
Stands for Military Standard. This classification establishes uniform engineering and technical requirements for military-unique or substantially modified commercial processes, procedures, practices, and methods. In order to qualify, materials undergo rugged, exact testing, equal to the exigencies of combat use.
Stands for Society of Automotive Engineers. SAE International is a global association of engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive, and commercial-vehicle industries. Materials meeting SAE standards are internationally recognized for safety, quality, and effectiveness.
Stands for the Unified Numbering System for Metals and Alloys. UNS designation provides a means of correlating internationally used metal and alloy numbering systems currently administered by societies, trade associations, and those individual users and producers of metals and alloys. This system is meant to avoid the confusion caused by using more than one identification number for the same metal or alloy, and the opposite situation of having the same number assigned to two or more different metals or alloys.
Additional Metallurgy Terms
You can access our full glossary of metallurgy terms and acronyms in The Complete Guide to Buying Metal Products.