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The Book of Terms

The Book of TermsThe WJI Book of Wire & Cable Terms: an interactive experience of learning and sharing
This book, written by industry volunteers and containing more than 5,000 entries, is an asset for newcomers to wire and cable.

At the same time, it also represents an opportunity for industry veterans to give back by either updating or adding to the more than 5,000 entries. This is an honor system process. Entries/updates must be non-commercial, and any deemed not to be so will be removed. Share your expertise as part of this legacy project to help those who will follow. Purchase a printed copy here.


All   0-9   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Babbitt Metal

A class of silver-white bearing metals (“white metals”) that is useful for their anti-friction properties. First produced by Isaac Babbitt in 1839, these alloys are most often made from copper, tin and antimony with small additions of other metals. A typical application is machine bearings.

Babcock Test

A standard test procedure to analyze wiredrawing or rolling coolants for their chemical content. It provides readings for the strength of solution as well as oil and other foreign content.

Back Relief

A section of the wiredrawing die which is conical and designed to strengthen the exit of the die to prevent breakage of the nib. It also prevents the wire from being damaged by backlash when the drawing machine stops.

Back Test

A spring to be used for scales. The scale is loaded to its full capacity with a known loading increments and unloaded gradually to reveal any discrepancies.


The main portion of network cabling, connecting equipment rooms or communications closets. These cables often have the largest number of fibers and/or the longest continuous cable runs.

Backbone Cable

Cable found in the backbone.

Backbone Wire

Wire found in the backbone.

Backplane Panels

Interconnection panels into which PC cards or other panels can be plugged. They come in a variety of designs ranging from a PC motherboard to individual connectors mounted in a metal frame. Panels lend themselves to automated wiring.

Backpull Drawing

Drawing in which a tensile force or back pull is applied to the wire before it passes through the die. This reduces the compressive stresses caused by the nib of the die and helps to ensure that the wire passes straight into the die. The tensile stress due to the drawing force must not exceed the tensile strength of the wire at the die exit.


A chemical used to kill bacteria found in metalworking coolants.


A section of a tank or reservoir which provides a way to isolate one chamber from another when there is a concern for separating liquids, diverting the flow through a given direction and for enabling metallic fines to float to surface for removal.

Bag Tie Wire

A low-carbon annealed wire used for making a twist type closure for bags. Also produced from bright-annealed coppered wire and soft galvanized wire.

Bailing Line

Wire rope that is used to operate the bailer for removing water and drill cuttings in drilling a well.


A steel constituent produced by the transformation of austenite in a temperature range that is above that for the formation of martensite and below that for pearlite. A usual transformation temperature is 400°C. Bainite consists of ferrite and cementite and may be produced by austempering. The process can produce a steel with better toughness than does hardening and tempering to the same hardness.

Baking Ovens

Heated chambers used to dry the coatings on rods and wire after pickling and to drive off additional hydrogen gained during the pickling operation. Often was done by wheeling trucks loaded with rods into heated tunnels. Largely superseded by flash bakers.

Balanced Cable

A cable having one or more symmetrical metallic cable elements, such as twisted pairs or quads.

Balanced Circuit

A circuit so arranged that the impressed voltages on each conductor of the pair are equal in magnitude but opposite in polarity with respect to ground.

Balanced Line

A cable having two identical conductors which carry voltages opposite in polarity and equal in magnitude with respect to ground.

Bale Tie

A length of wire with a knotting loop at one or both ends used extensively in farm work. Also used for strapping bales, etc. Generally low or medium low-carbon steel, often annealed and/or galvanized.

Bale Wire

See Bale Tie.

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