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Dictionary of Metals

Editor: Harold M. Cobb   |   Hardcover   |   Product code: 05359G   |   ISBN: 978-1-61503-978-4

Classified as: Industries and Applications Materials Processing and Treatment ...more

Price: $157.00 Member Price: $115.00

The Dictionary of Metals is the authoritative reference work for terms and definitions of metals and terms relating to metals. It also includes a considerable amount of history starting with the seven metals of antiquity. Each of the metallic elements has a discussion that includes the discoverer and date, the naming of the metal and its meaning, the major applications, the significance of the discovery, and physical properties. Includes a timeline of important events in the history of metals and metallurgy.

Table of Contents:

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • The Dictionary
  • Time Line
  • Index to the Time Line
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix I: Tables

About the Editor:

Harold M. Cobb graduated from Yale University in 1943 with a degree in Metallurgical Engineering. He has had a long and varied metallurgical career which began with twenty-two years at companies that produced aircraft gas turbines, propeller blades, helicopters, and fuel elements for nuclear submarines.

He was then on the staff of ASTM for eighteen years as Group Manager of the Metals Division where he was an ex-officio member of twelve of the metals committees. He was a member of ISO Committee TC17 on Steel and Secretary of Subcommittee 12 on Steel Sheet for fifteen years.

In 1970, Cobb was a principal developer of the Unified Numbering System for Metals and Alloys. He developed the individual numbering systems for three categories: Miscellaneous Steels, the K Series; Cast Steels, the J Series; and Steels Specified by Mechanical Properties, and the D Series. He also became the number assigner for the D and K Series of Steels and is still responsible for that activity. For many years he has been an editorial consultant for the triennial ASTM/SAE publication "Metal and Alloys in the Unified Numbering System." Cobb created and now maintains the Index of Common Names and Trade Names of that book, an Index that has grown to around 20,000 entries.

He has edited twenty-four books on metals, and in 2010 authored the world's first History of Stainless Steel (ASM International). He has authored several dozen articles including "The Development of the Unified Numbering System for Metals (UNS)," "The Naming and Numbering of Stainless Steels,"  and "What's in a Name?" He has worked at various times as an editorial consultant for ASM International, the American Society for Testing & Materials, the Association for Iron & Steel Technology, The Society of Automotive Engineers and the Specialty Steel Industry of North America.

Cobb is also a Guest Editor for Stainless Steel World, a Dutch magazine, and creates a monthly feature story under the byline "Cobb's Corner."

He holds a patent on a process for manufacturing fuel elements for nuclear submarines. He is a Life Member of ASM International, a member of ASTM and Committee A-1 on Steel, Stainless Steel and Related Alloys.

"The editor has produced a large, indeed exhaustive, collection of information on the properties and refining of all metals including the atomic parameters of elemental metals. Additionally, he includes brief descriptions of the varied methods of manufacture and fabrication of metals and their uses. So much data are presented that every letter of the alphabet is present in the dictionary! Particularly interesting is the timeline of the discovery of the elemental metals including a description of the development and uses of important metal alloys. This dictionary will be useful to everybody who has an interest in the history and background of the discovery, refining, fabrication and uses of metals, both modern and ancient." 
R.C. Blanchard, M.S., Mechanical Engineer


Review: Dictionary of Metals, Harold M. Cobb, editor, published by ASM International, 2012. 

Metals and the development of human civilization have gone hand in hand, which is why there are historical time periods named, for example, the Iron Age and the Bronze Age.  Hal Cobb has put together a very useful reference book that defines in a concise way many of the terms used in metallurgy, presenting them in a historical context when necessary.  The book is not only a dictionary, but also includes a description of each of the 73 elements that are considered to be metals, brief biographies of prominent men and women in the field, descriptions of alloy families, and much more.  Of special interest is an appendix containing a 48-page timeline of metals history, giving key events starting in 6000 B.C. and finishing in 2009.  Hal had included a timeline in his previous book, History of Stainless Steel, which I have found to be very useful, and expect that this timeline will be equally well used. 

While no dictionary of terms could ever be complete, the book defines an impressive list of terms covering all metals and the main alloy families, both wrought and cast production, and metal working.  The terms I searched out gave clear and concise definitions, while explaining nuances that may occur between different metals where the same term may be used.  The advantage of such a book over a general Internet search is that the book provides only the metallurgical definitions, both quickly and simply.  This book should be in all libraries, at educational institutions as well as in the public libraries.  I would recommend this book especially as a gift to students currently studying metallurgy or materials science, or who have just graduated.  However, it is a useful book for engineers and technicians in any field who work with metals.  For those who do not have English as their first language, this book also can be of great value in helping to understand unfamiliar or not easily translated metallurgical terms in a more concise way. 

Reviewed Feb. 2013 by
Gary Coates, P.Eng.,
Garcoa Metallurgical Services,
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada 

  • Publisher: ASM International
  • Published: 2012
  • Pages: 357
  • ISBN: 978-1-61503-978-4