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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


1) Designation for meter. 2) Designation for 1,000. 3) Suffix indicating two or more insulated, twisted conductors under an outer, non-metallic covering.


See Milliampere.

Machine Screw Wire

A bright, hard-drawn wire annealed in small sizes. It must be suitable for threading and slotting and must be soft enough to be suitable for formation of a large head. See Screw Wire.

Machine Straightening

Removal of material cast, kinks or bends through roll straighteners or machine (rotating arbors) straighteners, or by means of hydraulic or pneumatic presses.

Machine-Finished Dies

Wiredrawing dies finished for more efficient changes in the guide contour and a sharper intersection between the approach angle and parallel bearing.

Machined Edges

Edges produced by typical cutting operations.


The cutting away of a metal’s surface by power-driven tools.

Macro Etch Test

A process of etching metals with acids or other reagents for examination by the naked eye or small magnification of up to 10 diameters to reveal their gross crystalline structure, e.g. segregation, flow lines, defects and the distribution of impurities. Surface of the test piece should be reasonably smooth or even polished.


A photographic reproduction of any object that has been magnified no more than 10 times.


Voids formed during solidification. They become nucleation sites for microcracks and subsequently fracture during drawing. Sources include excessive gases trapped during solidification and shrinkage of cavities.


Visible either with the naked eye or under low magnification (as great as about 10 diameters).

Macroscopic Deep Etch Test

A test in steels to reveal hammer bursts, pipe, seams, laps, checks and flakes though heavy etching in HCl at 82°C (180°F). Light etching reveals soft spots and depth of case.


The general crystalline structure of a metal and the distribution of impurities seen on a polished or etched surface by either the naked eye or under low magnification of less than x10.

Macrostructure of Cast Copper

The crystalline structure of the cast copper bar that reflects the grain size generated through rather slow solidification. This term is used for continuous cast copper facilities.


Magnesium alloy sheet clad with layers of a more anodic magnesium alloy.

Magnaflux Test

An inspection to reveal surface and subsurface non-uniformities in steel billets, rod or wire. It consists of suitably magnetizing the material and applying a prepared magnetic powder (typically fluorescent) that adheres along flux leakage lines, indicating the location and relative depth of the defect.


A naturally occurring form of magnesium carbonate (MgCO3).


Element, chemical symbol Mg. The lightest of all at­mospherically stable metals, it is a silvery-white metal that tarnishes easily in moist air.

Magnesium, Commercially Pure.

99.80 percent magnesium. Total of all impurities is 0.2 percent.


A piece of material that attracts ferromagnetic materials.

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