Blog - Ferrous and Non-Ferrous metals - welding image

The Difference Between Ferrous & Non-Ferrous Metals

Metals are used in thousands of applications in numerous industries every single day. On the periodic table alone there are 94 distinct metals, including gold, iron, silver, copper and brass. Even more metals can be made in the form of alloys, which mix chemical elements together. Common alloys include steel, bronze and brass.

Alloys can be either ferrous or non-ferrous. But what is the difference? Read on to find out.

Ferrous Metals

The main difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals is that ferrous metals contain iron in them. Ferrous metals began to be used around the time of the Iron Age, in 1000 BC. This is when iron production began to become more commonplace, so the element was added into more alloys.

Ferrous metals are known for their high tensile strength and magnetic properties. This makes them useful for structural uses such as constructing bridges, railways and buildings. Ferrous metal can be recycled but has to be melted down and purified before it can be used again.

Examples of ferrous metals include steel, stainless steel, carbon steel, cast iron and wrought iron. Most ferrous metals are prone to rusting due to their high carbon content, with the exceptions being stainless steel and wrought iron.

Non-Ferrous Metals

Non-ferrous metals have been used for thousands of years, dating back to around 5000 BC in the copper age. They don’t contain iron, so are often lighter and more malleable than ferrous metals.

Non-ferrous metals are great for applications where strength is required but must also be lightweight, such as constructing parts for the aerospace industry. Other applications include piping, gutters, roofing and electrical applications. This is due to them not being magnetic but having the ability to conduct heat and electricity.

Non-ferrous metals can be recycled repeatedly as they don’t degrade or lose chemical properties during recycling. Commonly used non-ferrous metals include silver, aluminium, copper, lead and brass. Non-ferrous metals tend to be more expensive than ferrous metals as they are normally rarer.

Metal Fabrication From Staffordshire Fabrications

Staffordshire Fabrications Ltd offers ferrous and non-ferrous metal fabrication to clients across the UK. We work with clients across many sectors and industries, including automotive, amusements, marine, defence, rail, construction and more.

We offer a comprehensive suite of design services, allowing us to design whatever you need. Our CNC Machining and Milling department prides itself on being one of the most efficient fabrication and processing sites in the UK. Some of the services we offer include CNC turning, milling, gas profiling, mitre sawing, welling, press braking and more.

If you have any questions about Staffordshire Fabrications Ltd, give us a call today at 01543 379693 or email sales@staffsfabs.co.uk to see how our fabrication company can help.