All About Metals: Explaining the Difference Between Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals

Dating back to the mid-5th millennium BC when the discovery of copper and the introduction of the copper age was just started metal has been used by humans for thousands of years. From time back years ago till now several metals have been discovered, created, and used by people leading to a wide range of metals used in fabrication. 

Metal is the most common element that we see everywhere and are mostly surrounded by it no matter what. Ranging from alloy, steel, and lead, to iron, aluminum, copper, and others, we already know about the different types of metals. What people do not know is the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals. It is one of the most frequently asked questions in the scrap metal industry, especially for those who are serious collectors.

Understanding the difference can help develop a considerable bearing on the buying and selling of scrap metal. So, today in this article presented by Scraapy, one of the top Scrap Dealers in Saudi Arabia, we will help you understand the basic difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals along with their uses, examples, and how they are different from each other.

What is ferrous metal?

Ferrous metal is any metal that contains iron and is favored for its strength and durability. Ferrous metals are used for housing construction and others.

What is Non-Ferrous Metal?

Non-ferrous metal is any metal that does not contain iron and is more malleable and lighter than ferrous metals. Non-ferrous metals are used in industries where strength is required, like in the aircraft industry.

Characteristics of Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals

  1. Resistance to rust

Ferrous metal: With the content of high carbon in them mostly ferrous metals are vulnerable to rust when exposed to the elements. 

Non-ferrous metal: With zero content of iron in it non-ferrous metals naturally have a higher resistance to rust and corrosion. 

  1. Magnetic elements

Ferrous metal: The majority of ferrous metals have magnetic properties because of the iron content in them. They are used in the manufacturing of motors and electrical appliances.

Non-ferrous metal: Non-ferrous metals are not magnetic in nature because of their zero iron content. They are best used in manufacturing electronic applications and wiring.

  1. Strength and density

Ferrous metal: All ferrous metals are extremely dense and stronger when mixed with carbon when compared with non-ferrous metals.

Non-ferrous metal: All the non-ferrous metals are less dense and strong when compared to ferrous metals.

  1. Weight and price

Ferrous metal: As iron is more dense and heavy in nature, the weight of ferrous metal is said to be more, but the cost of ferrous metal is comparatively low compared to non-ferrous metals.

Non-ferrous metals: Even though ferrous metals are way heavier than non-ferrous metals, the cost of non-ferrous metals is higher. The reason behind this is its relative scarcity and the difficulty of processing.

  1. Recycling

Ferrous metal: Recycling ferrous metal includes an extensive process that includes melting, purifying, and then compacting it into something else.

Non-ferrous metal: Recycling non-ferrous metals is easier than recycling ferrous metals as they do not degrade or lose any chemical properties.

Examples of ferrous and non-ferrous metals

Metals that are ferrous

  1. Steel: A composition of iron and carbon that is most popular for its toughness and machinability, steel is an alloy of iron, carbon, and a variety of elements. Steel is used in construction, manufacturing, and industrial metal fabrication.
  2. Cast iron: A ferrous alloy made from iron, carbon, and silicon that is hard and wear-resistant. It is used to make items suitable for cookware, machine tools, engines, manhole covers, water pipes, etc.
  3. Stainless steel: A alloy of iron that contains iron, chromium, and other elements like carbon in it and is best known for its corrosion and heat resistance is Stainless Steel Metal. It is used in the industry of food and catering, like manufacturing kitchen accessories, cutlery, and others.
  4. Wrought iron: An iron alloy different from other ferrous metals that are corrosion and oxidation resistant is what we call wrought iron. It is used for fencing and railing.

Metals that aren't ferrous

  1. Aluminum: A ductile non-ferrous metal that is lightweight and easy to bend and shape, aluminum is used in the manufacturing of aircraft, food cans, kitchen utensils, cars, etc.
  2. Copper: A non-ferrous metal that is a good conductor of heat and electricity and is highly ductile and malleable in nature is what we refer to Copper Metal as. It is widely used for electrical wiring and making decorative ornament pieces like jewelry, tabletops, doorknobs, etc.
  3. Lead: A metal with a low melting point, low tensile strength, soft, and high resistance to corrosion, lead as a metal is a good choice for electronics like batteries, cable sheaths, power cables, etc.
  4. Zinc: A non-ferrous metal that can be machined easily, has a low melting point and has medium strength. Zinc is commonly used to protect steel from preventing and galvanising iron.

In the industry of Metal Scrap in Saudi Arabia, both ferrous and non-ferrous metals are highly sought when it comes to recycling. As recycling saves energy, understanding different metals is very important before we jump into the process.

Posted by: Admin | Posted Date: 05-08-2022