There are many different ferrous and non-ferrous metals and their alloys and consequently it is not easy to structure metal specifications in a uniformed way.

Metal specifications are often defined by standards, which may specify metal products, delivery conditions and the properties of metals in their own, specific way.

Many ferrous and non ferrous materials from around the world are grouped on the basis of chemical composition or mechanical properties, and sometimes on the basis of delivery conditions, such as flat products, bars or pipes. It is important to bear in mind that most of the metal specifications are complex documents that cannot be condensed into a single line of text.

In the United States, widely used metal specifications are those published by ASTM; these metal specifications represent a consensus drawn from producers, fabricators and users of metal products.

Many of the ASTM specifications have been adopted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) with slight or no modifications. ASME uses the prefix S with the ASTM specifications; for example, ASME SA 249 and ASTM A 249 are the same. Also, SAE often uses ASTM specifications for defining the properties of bars, wires, and other products.

Euronorom (abbreviation EN) is a harmonized standardization system of European countries. Although it is accepted and being effectively used in all European countries, metal specifications according to “obsolete” national systems, such as German DIN, British BS, French AFNOR and Italian UNI can still often be found in many documents.

Japanese JIS standard specifications are developed by the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC) in Tokyo. This is a well elaborated system, which has often been used in Asia and the Pacific area as a base for other national systems for metal specifications, such as Korean, Chinese and Taiwanese.

Other widely used metal specifications include those issued by The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as well as Russian GOST, which is practically the de facto standard for the whole Community of Independent States.

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