21 February 2012

What Is The Difference Between Ferrous And Non-Ferrous Metals?

When it comes to metals, there are many terms tossed around in the industry that may mean nothing to ordinary people like you and me. Some of these terms may be of ferrous and nonferrous. Although the words seem a little daunting, it really is not too much of them - in no time, you give the impression of an ordinary foundry!

But why would you need to know what the ferrous and nonferrous metals are, and what is the difference between them is? First, if you want to recycle your old iron, having an understanding of the industry can work much to your advantage. Second, there may be times you meet the terms in written documents, and having an understanding of what they mean can help you save time and uncertainty.

So what are ferrous and nonferrous metals?
The ferrous word "ferrous" is derived from the term "Ferrum" which translates into Latin iron. This means that the materials contain a certain percentage of ferrous iron. It is easy to say a ferrous metal from nonferrous another - most alloys are magnetic, and all come with some sort of oxidation (rust red). So if you want to know if a metal is ferrous, leave it outside in time for a while or try to pick it up with a magnet.
Some examples of ferrous metals include steel (carbon steel, stainless steel, mild steel, etc.) and iron (cast iron, wrought iron, etc..)

Non-ferrous This means again that the non-ferrous materials are those that do not include iron or an alloy of metals which do not contain iron as a component. To say a non-ferrous metal outside of a ferrous, it is much simpler to perform the above test to determine if they contain iron or not. However, non-ferrous materials are known for their strength, low weight, high melting point, and corrosion resistance. All non-ferrous metals are also non-magnetic, but as some ferrous alloys are also non-magnetic, it does not really help tell the two apart.

Examples of non-ferrous metals include aluminum, copper, nickel, silver, gold, tin, brass, platinum, magnesium and tungsten.
The next time you hear someone speak of a metal as ferrous or nonferrous, do not stop and I wonder what they speak. Remember that the ferrous metals contain iron and nonferrous not and you will never be confused again. To test whether a material is ferrous or nonferrous, run a magnet over - if it sticks, it certainly is ferrous.