What is a Non-Ferrous Metal?
Non-ferrous metals are metals that do not contain iron. They are softer and therefore more malleable, which makes them easier to work with. They are useful for both industrial purposes as well as aesthetic functions.
Precious metals such as gold and silver are both non-ferrous. In fact, all pure metal forms, except for pure iron, are non-ferrous.
Non-Ferrous Metals Properties
The properties of non-ferrous metals and alloys make them highly versatile in comparison to steel or iron, and they are easier to work with than iron alloys. Furthermore, these metals are naturally more malleable and durable, and they are far easier to cut or roll into specialized shapes for various applications.
The following includes some of the most desirable properties of non-ferrous metals:
- High corrosion resistance: This characteristic means the metal can withstand deterioration in harsh environments that could otherwise cause rust or corrosion.
- Easy to fabricate: Non-ferrous metals are easy to work with and have a high level of machinability, making them ideal for processes like casting and welding.
- Great thermal conductivity: This property allows for a faster transfer of heat rate in phase change material.
- Great electrical conductivity: Conductive metals give little resistance to an electric current or heat from thermal energy.
- Low density: These metals tend to be lighter in weight and have a high strength-to-weight ratio.
- Non-magnetic: This property makes non-ferrous metals key in wiring as well as the development of small electronics.
Non-Ferrous Metals List
Examples of non-ferrous metals include:
Copper is pretty widely spread in the industrial market. Add the alloys brass (copper and zinc) and bronze (copper and tin), and you may already see the many uses of copper. Still, copper and copper alloys properties allow more applications:
- High thermal conductivity
- High electrical conductivity
- Good corrosion resistance
- High ductility
In engineering terms, a very special and important metal. May not be so useful in everyday application because of the price but its combination of low weight and great machinability make it the go-to metal in yachts, planes, and many automotive parts. Aluminum is also the base metal in many alloys. Aluminum properties include:
- Good conductor of heat and electricity (but less than copper) – in combination with ductility and malleability replaces copper in some instances
- High ductility and lightweight
- Becomes hard after cold working, so needs heat treatments
Zinc on its own doesn’t mean much to the average person. As an alloying element, on the other hand, it has a wide range of purposes. It is mainly used for galvanizing steel in all kinds of fields. Galvanizing makes the material more durable against corrosion. It also has uses that when mixed with aluminum, it creates Zinc-Aluminum alloys. They were designed to compete with bronze, cast iron, and aluminum using sand and permanent mold casting methods. Distinguishing features of ZA alloys include high as-cast strength, excellent bearing properties, as well as low energy requirements (for melting).
ZA alloys make good bearings because their final composition includes hard eutectic zinc-aluminum-copper particles embedded in a softer zinc-aluminum matrix. The hard particles provide a low-friction bearing surface, while the softer material wears back to provide space for lubricant to flow, similar to Babbitt metal.
Titanium is the ninth most abundant metal on the planet. It is a hard, strong and shiny metal with a silvery gray color. It is equally as strong as steel but much less dense, making it an optimal alloying agent for many metals. It is often combined with aluminum, molybdenum and iron.
Titanium is an extremely valuable metal and is prized for its lightweight, high-strength and low-corrosion qualities. Its lightweight strength and ability to endure extreme temperatures make it useful for building materials in spacecraft technology, missiles, laptops, bicycles and more.
Additionally, titanium is inherently resistant to corrosion, which makes it a popular material for submarines and the hulls of ships.
Tin is a soft, malleable metal with a shiny, silvery-white surface. It is ductile, non-toxic and readily adaptable to any kind of cold working, such as extrusion, rolling or spinning.
Tin is most often used to coat other metals to prevent corrosion. For example, tin cans are actually traditionally made from steel and coated with tin.
Additionally, tin can be combined with other metals to form many important alloys. For example, pewter and bronze are two of tin’s alloys that have many desirable properties and are popular in numerous applications.
Non-Ferrous Alloys We Offer
All of our materials, including our tools, come with the guarantee that your part was made 100% in the United States.
We have over 60 years of experience in the industry and know the ins and outs of metal castings. Whatever your project needs, our experienced staff members will work with you to find the best alloy to complete your casting application. We even perform non-destructive testing of your casting in order to ensure complete customer satisfaction and product quality.
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