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Ferrous and non-ferrous

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Ferrous and non-ferrous


The word ferrous is derived from the Latin word ferrum, meaning "iron". Quite simply, ferrous metals contain iron where as nonferrous do not.


Ferrous metals can contain small amounts of other metals or elements to give the required properties. They are magnetic and do not have much resistance to corrosion. Non-ferrous metals do not contain iron, they are not magnetic and are generally more resistant to corrosion than ferrous metals.


Ferrous Metals


Ferrous metals are iron and steel, and their variants. They are strong, tough and easy to machine, but are prone to rusting and corrosion.

• Mild Steel has a carbon content of between 0.1% and 0.3% and an iron content of 99.7% to 99.9%. It is used for engineering purposes and as the least expensive of all steel, it is the most common used. Mild steel is weldable, it’s very hard and very durable.

• Carbon steel contains 0.6% to 1.4% carbon and 98.6% to 99.4 % iron. It is generally used to make industrial tools, machinery, drill bits and knives.

• Stainless Steel is iron with varying additions of nickel, chromium and other metals depending on the grade and its end use. It is better defended against corrosion and used in thousands of applications.

• Cast Iron contains between 2% and 6% carbon and 94% to 98% iron. It is very strong but at the same time, brittle. It is used to manufacture heavy items including engine blocks and manhole covers.

• Wrought Iron is almost 100% iron. It is less popular than it once was but is still used for decorative items such as railings.

• Ferrous metals are the most recycled materials in the world. In 2008 alone, 1.3 billion tons of steel were produced, 500 million tons of which was made from scrap materials

• Non Ferrous Metals

• Non-ferrous metals are many and diverse, and include rare and precious metals. They have wide range of mechanical properties and material characteristics resulting in a vast array of uses across all industries and commercial uses.

• Aluminium is an alloy of aluminium, copper and manganese. It is very lightweight and can be easily worked, and available in a range of grades depending on end-use

• Brass is a combination of copper and zinc. It is generally used for decorative purposes due to its resemblance to gold.

• Copper is a naturally occurring metal. As it conducts heat and electricity, it is commonly used for wiring, tubing and pipe work.

• Gold is most famously used for jewellery and as an investment in the form of bars or bullion. It is also used as an electrical connector, as a thread and even as food decoration.

• Lead is a heavy and very soft metal which is often used in roofing and to make pipes.

• Nickel is a silvery-white metal. It is often used as an alloying agent with other metals and historically was used to make cheap coins.

• Silver is another natural substance, used mainly for decorative jewellery and ornaments. It is also used to solder different metals together.

• About half of all Tin produced is for solder, when it is combined with lead. It is also used to plate other metals and as an alloy

• Titanium is another silver-coloured metal and was discovered in Cornwall. It is another common ingredient as an alloy but it mostly used for refinement in to titanium dioxide; an intensely white pigment used in plastics, paints and toothpaste

• Zinc is mostly used for galvanisation; applying a protective zinc coating to iron or steel to prevent rusting. It is also a common alloy.


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