Ferrous Vs. Non-Ferrous Metals

By June 8, 2022 No Comments

Today, chemists and metallurgists recognize metals as ferrous and non-ferrous. Due to their diverse features and applications, they are separated into two classes, and distinguishing between the two is critical.

Ferrous metals are those that contain iron, while non-ferrous, as their name indicates, are not composed of any iron components. The history of non-ferrous metals dates back to the discovery of copper, which marked the beginning of the Copper Age over 7,000 years ago. Soon after, the Bronze age came into existence when copper and tin were combined to produce a new alloy. However, humans did not know about any ferrous metals until iron ore was first mined in 1200 BC, igniting the Iron Age for the world.

Ferrous Metals

Alloy steel, carbon steel, cast iron, and wrought iron are some of the most prevalent ferrous metals used today. The tensile strength and endurance of these metals are highly valued. Carbon steel, often known as structure steel, is a common building material that may be found in the world’s tallest skyscrapers and longest bridges. Shipping containers, industrial pipelines, autos, train tracks, and a variety of commercial and domestic equipment all employ ferrous metals. Most ferrous metals are magnetic too, making them ideal for motor and electronic applications. Even your refrigerator contains ferrous metals, which is why you’re able to stick magnets on it.

However, there’s a drawback to these metals too. Because ferrous metals have a high carbon content, they are prone to rust when exposed to moisture. But, this property has two exceptions: wrought iron resists rust due to its purity, and stainless steel is rust-resistant due to the presence of chromium.

Non-ferrous Metals

Non-ferrous metals, like ferrous metals, have been used widely since the birth of civilizations. Copper, aluminum, nickel, zinc, lead, and tin are some examples of non-ferrous metals, as are precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. The absence of iron in these metals makes them rust-free. Moreover, as they are lighter and more malleable than ferrous metals, they have significant advantages and uses that are pretty different from the other category.

Aluminum, for example, is light and can be cast, forged, machined, and welded quickly. Thus, it is used to make aircraft, as well as fenders, frames, pistons, radiators, and other parts used in the construction of automobiles, trucks, boats, and motorcycles.

Copper’s ductility, malleability, and high conductivity make it a popular choice for sheet roofing, bearings, pipelines, statues, and wire and other conductors in the electrical industry. 

Zinc is most commonly used to prevent rust by galvanizing the protective layer of iron or steel.

Using ferrous and non-ferrous metals to make alloys is a frequent technique. For example, when chromium is combined with steel, it produces stainless steel, which has greater strength and corrosion resistance. Several other alloys are commonly utilized to make lighter-weight materials and save money.

The Takeaway

Ferrous and non-ferrous metals have various distinct properties and applications in metal manufacturing. The option you choose is determined by your needs and choices. If needed, you can even mix these two to form alloys for even better material and utilize them in various instances. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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