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SAF Glossary of Industry Terms


A substance with metallic properties composed of two or more chemical elements, of which at least one is metal. More specifically, aluminum plus one or more other elements, produced to have certain specific, desirable characteristics.

Aluminum Plate

A flat-rolled aluminum product, rectangular in cross section, of thickness not less than 0.250″ and with sheared or sawed edges.

Aluminum Sheet

A rolled aluminum sheet product, flat or coiled, rectangular in cross section, with a thickness of less than 0.250″ but not less than 0.006″ and with slit, sheared or sawed edges.


An electrochemical process for applying a protective or decorative coating to aluminum metal surfaces.

Class I Anodize

Highest level of exterior anodized finish durability with a minimum coating thickness of 0.7 mil (18 u).

Class II Anodize

Good level of exterior anodized finish durability with a minimum coating thickness of 0.4 mil (10 u).

Clear 201

Minimum anodized coating thickness of 0.2 mil (5 u).

Clear 202

Minimum anodized coating thickness of 0.3 mil (7 u).

Clear Anodize

The original sulfuric acid anodizing process. Available in anodized coating thickness up to 1.0 mil, although 0.7 mil is the thickest used in normal commercial service. Natural aluminum silver color. Usually etched for matte appearance.

Duranodic (discontinued by SAF)

An anodizing process based on the use of an organic acid in combination with sulfuric acid, which produces a range of bronze colors from champagne to dark bronze to black. On certain alloys, this process produces shades of gray. In this bath, the color is produced as the anodizing takes place. Widely used until about 1980 when it was largely displaced by the Two-Step anodizing process. It also was marketed under the trade name Kalcolor. It is generally a harder finish than two-step anodizing, and is often used today where abrasion resistance is important, such as handrails.


The process of shaping material by forcing it to flow through a shaped opening in a die.


To work a material into a finished state by machining, forming or joining.

London Metals Exchange (LME)

The international trading body that facilitates the worldwide open market buying and selling of metals.

Metric ton (mt)

A unit of mass and weight equal to 1,000 kilograms, or 2,204.6 pounds.


A mechanically embossed pattern in sheet. We offer pattern 10, which is a fluted pattern on aluminum sheet. We also offer pattern E5 which is a stucco pattern on aluminum sheet.

PVDF Coating or Finish

PolyVinylidene Flouride, a polymer coating or finish developed in the 1960s that is unusually resistant to UV radiation from the sun. Paints with this resin have an expected life (note: this is not a warranty) of over 20 years on aluminum. These paints are available in both a spray and aluminum coil coated formulations. PVDF is manufactured by two firms. Arkema Inc. makes a resin called Kynar 500; Solvay Solexis makes a resin called Hylar 5000. These resins are formulated into paint by approved licensees – PPG (Duranar), Valspar (Fluropon), Morton (Fluroceram), Akzo Nobel (Trinar). All of these manufacturers jealously guard their trade names, so be careful how you use them. The most generic specification is paint formulated with PVDF.


2-3 mil polyethylene protective tape applied to SAF aluminum sheet products for protection during fabrication. This material must be peeled off before final installation.

Two-Step Anodizing

An anodizing process based on sulfuric acid anodizing in which a bronze tone color is created by deposition of salts of tin, nickel, or cobalt as a second step (hence the name two-step) after anodizing. Generally these colors are bronze in shade, although in 1993 a process for using two-step technology and interference coloring was introduced which produced a blue color. Since this is based on sulfuric acid anodizing, it is not as abrasion resistant as the Duranodic process mentioned elsewhere in this glossary.

saf glossary