Comparison between Non-Ferrous Metal & Ferrous Metals & Unlock 7 Properties & Examples [PDF]

In this article, we shall learn the difference between non-ferrous metals and ferrous metal. We have also provided a PDF for the same.

Engineering metals are classified into two broad groups; Ferrous and Non-ferrous. In ferrous metals, Iron is the main element. Whereas non-ferrous are metals whose main significant components are metals other than iron. Non-ferrous metals also find various applications in industry. They find applications in a wide range of industrial, commercial, and residential sectors. In this article, we will learn about the basics of non-ferrous metal, their examples, properties, and applications.

What are Non-Ferrous Metals?

The metals whose composition does not show any significant amount of iron content are known as non-ferrous. The term ferrous is related to iron. So, non-ferrous is the absence of iron. But as almost all metals have traces of iron in their composition, the term significant is important. Various non-ferrous metals used in engineering practice are aluminum, copper, lead, tin, zinc, nickel, etc., and their alloys. All pure metals except iron are non-ferrous.

Non-Ferrous Metals ore

Properties of Non-Ferrous Metals

Non-ferrous metals constitute a major part of all useful metal sectors. In many applications, non-ferrous metal and alloys are preferred over ferrous materials because of their useful properties. The common properties are as follows

  • Lower density
  • Non-magnetic
  • Higher resistance to corrosion and rust
  • More malleable and ductile
  • Better electrical and thermal conductivity
  • Higher melting points
  • More expensive
  • Lower tensile strength
Non-Ferrous Metals molybdenum

Some non-ferrous metal are brittle and hard whereas some are ductile and soft. Some can withstand high temperatures while some other nonferrous metals can withstand cryogenic temperatures. The properties of different nonferrous metals vary significantly from one another. So, they can not be grouped into some common categories.

Examples of Non-Ferrous Metals

The examples of non-ferrous metal are as follows

  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Lead
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Titanium
  • Brass
  • Platinum
Non-Ferrous Metals Brass

Rare metals such as bismuth, cerium, cadmium, mercury, tungsten, beryllium, niobium, indium, gallium, germanium, tantalum, tellurium, vanadium, lithium, selenium, and zirconium are also non-ferrous. Mostly these metal are generally refined using the electrolysis method.

Applications of Nonferrous Metals

As already mentioned that these metals have a range of commercial, residential, and industrial applications. This type of metal has had many uses throughout history. We can find the application of copper, tin, and bronze from pre-historic times. With new advancements and industrialization, the use of non-ferrous metal has increased by manifolds. The common applications of these metals include

  • Construction,
  • Tool and machinery manufacturing
  • Electrical cables,
  • Vehicle engines,
  • Signage
  • Street signs
  • Home appliances
  • Roofing
  • Pipelines,
  • Containers,
  • Kitchen items
  • Aerospace and aviation
  • Communication industry
  • Batteries
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Electroplating
  • Food and Agriculture
Non-Ferrous Metals applications

Difference Between Ferrous vs Nonferrous Metals

There are a large number of differences between ferrous and nonferrous metals which are as follows

Nonferrous MetalsFerrous Metals
The presence of iron is insignificant in nonferrous metals.Iron is a significant element in ferrous metals.
Nonferrous metals usually have lower mechanical strength.The strength of ferrous metals is much higher than nonferrous metals.
Nonferrous materials are non-magnetic.Ferrous materials are usually magnetic.
They do not rust.Rust is a phenomenon for ferrous metals.
The density and weight of nonferrous metals are lower than ferrous metals.Their density and weight are more.
These metals are costly.They are generally cheaper.
Such metals are usually soft.Ferrous metals are hard and durable.
Easy recycling is one of the important aspects of nonferrous metals.Ferrous metals are also recyclable but need a detailed procedure.
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Non-ferrous metals have distinct advantages over ferrous metals, such as being lighter, non-magnetic, more resistant to corrosion, and more malleable. They also have better electrical and thermal conductivity but are more expensive and have lower tensile strength. Proper selection of the appropriate material is crucial for specific applications.

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