Difference Between Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals (With Table)

In mother nature, many types of metals are found that are known to us, and many of them might be unknown, unidentified, and not even yet discovered. The properties of these metals are similar and may be different from each other. The study of these elements and their properties by chemists is known as metallurgy. 

Ferrous Metals vs Non-Ferrous Metals

The difference between Ferrous metals and Non-ferrous metals is that ferrous metals are usually defined as metals with the properties of any amount of iron (Fe) in their chemical structure. They also persist in many magnetic properties along with the high risk of corrosion. Whereas comparatively, on the other side, the non-ferrous metals are usually metals with no or less amount or properties of iron in them. They also do not persist in any magnetic properties and don’t have any risk of corrosion.

Ferrous Metals, in simple terms, are usually defined as metals having the properties of iron or the presence of iron in their chemical structure. The origin of the word ferrous is from the Latin word ‘ferrum,’ and the meaning for the same is ‘iron containing.’ The presence of the iron metal provides the magnetic property within the ferrous metals.

Non-Ferrous Metals, in simple terms, can be defined as metals that do not have the properties of iron or any minute presence of iron or its components in their chemical structure. Some of the best examples of the non-ferrous metals that have been in used since civilization are – Zinc, copper, aluminum, nickel, lead, tin, and many more other examples.

Comparison Table Between Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals

Parameters of ComparisonFerrous MetalsNon-Ferrous Metals
What is it?Metals with the properties or presence of any amount of the iron (Fe) in itMetals with no properties or traces of iron (Fe) in them
Magnetic Property They show high magnetic propertyThey show less or no magnetic property
Tensile Strength Shows high tensile strengthLow tensile strength
Advantage or Usage Used for the strength purpose and no use of magnetic propertyUsed in the appliances related to electricity
Corrosion High riskLow risk
ExamplesSteel, cast iron, pig iron, etcZinc, cobalt, aluminum, etc

What are Ferrous Metals?

In simple terms, they are defined as the metals persisting the traces of iron or its components. They have the properties of iron (Fe) in them, thus leading to the magnetic property of the metals. The metals tend to show high tensile strength because of their capacity to carry high strain.

These metals have a high intensity of risk for getting corrode. This is because of the presence of iron (Fe) properties or its traces in the metals. They react with the air, and because of it, the oxide layer of reddish-brown color starts depositing on the surface.

Ferrous metals are used in construction works and for strength purposes. They are often doped with other metals to make an alloy like – copper + steel, nickel + steel, and many more. Examples of ferrous metals are – cast iron, wrought iron, carbon steel, alloy steel, and many others.

What are Non-Ferrous Metals?

In simple terms, non-ferrous metals are defined as metals having no traces of iron or its components in their chemical structure. As non-ferrous metals do not contain any traces of iron or its components or properties, they also lack magnetic properties in the metals. The metals tend to show tensile strength, but it is very low.

Non-ferrous metals don’t have iron or its properties that is why they are less prone to the process of corrosion. The advantage of non-ferrous metals is that they are very light in weight and are most malleable. The market value of these metals is quite high as compared to that of ferrous metals.

Examples of non-ferrous metals are – copper, aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead, tin, gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and many more. Aluminum metal is used in making auto parts for many appliances. Copper is best suited for making bearings, pipes, etc. Zinc metal is often used as the surface coating for iron and steel to prevent rusting.

Main Differences Between Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals

  1. Ferrous metals are those metals having or persisting the properties of iron or its components. Also, they might have traces of iron in their chemical structure. While comparatively, on the other side, non-ferrous metals are those metals that do not persist any amount or properties of iron in their chemical structure.
  2. Ferrous metals show the presence of some magnetic properties because of the presence of iron. While comparatively, on the other hand, the non-ferrous metals are the ones with no iron in them, thus with no magnetic properties in them. 
  3. The tensile strength of the ferrous metals is quite high because of the high capacity of carrying high strain, whereas comparatively, on the other side, the tensile strength of the non-ferrous metals is quite low.
  4. The ferrous metals are widely-used when there is strength purpose demand instead of the magnetic one (simple terms – magnetic properties required should be poor) whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the non-ferrous metals have been widely used for the appliances that are related to electricity. 
  5. The presence of iron in the ferrous metals made the metals with a very risk factor of corrosion. As the metals get oxidized in the air and form the reddish-brown layer or the oxide layer known as rust on the upper surface. Whereas comparatively, on the other side, the non-ferrous metals have a low risk of getting corroded or, say, they have high resistance from the process of corrosion.
  6. Examples of ferrous metals are – steel, cast iron, pig iron, etc., whereas comparatively, on the other hand, the examples of non-ferrous metals are – aluminum, zinc, copper, etc.     

Conclusion

Naturally, there are many elements, metals, compounds that can be found on the earth. Also, these don’t need to be eliminated in their purest form because sometimes they are purified and then are advised to use. Their uses, applications, properties, chemical structures are all different from each other. Even though many a time, one element can be found in two or more other forms.

Ferrous and Non-ferrous metals are one of them that depends upon the presence of iron, its properties, or its components in the chemical structure. And the presence of it brings some other additional properties to the metals.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11665-002-0014-2
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167732217342137
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1003632617601729
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214785317329620
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