Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals

Metals are classified as:

  • ferrous metals or non-ferrous metals;
  • alloys
  • smart metals.

Ferrous metals are metals that contain iron, i.e. iron and steel.

Non-ferrous metals are metals that do not contain iron, i.e. all metals other than iron or steel.

  • There are pure metals such as copper and aluminium. These have not been combined with anything else, so their properties have not been changed by the addition of any other element.
  • Pure metals are not often used for manufacturing products because their properties and working characteristics may be improved by combining them with other materials to produce more useful metal alloys.

Metal alloys are mixtures of more than one metal, or are mixtures of a metal element and non-metals.

One of the most commonly used alloys is steel, which is an alloy of iron and carbon.

  • mild steel has up to 0.25% carbon,
  • medium carbon steel has from 0.25% - 0.7% carbon
  • high carbon steel has 0.7% - 1.5% carbon.

Other steel alloys include mixtures of iron and other elements such as manganese, molybdenum, nickel, chromium, tungsten, silicon and vanadium.

  • Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin
  • Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc
  • Aluminium alloy contains aluminium, copper, zinc, manganese and silicon.

Smart metals are metals that react to certain stimuli and change their shape.

Metals are available and sold as:

Sheet sheet sheet
Bar Bar Bar
Rod Rod Rod
Tube Tube Tube
Angle Angle Angle
Box Section Box section Box section