When in the recycling business, it is important to understand the different types of scrap metals available. The two most common categories are ferrous and non-ferrous. The significance of this knowledge lies in the fact that the categories decide the worth of the metal being recycled.
The main difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals is the iron content. Ferrous metals contain some amount of iron, whereas non-ferrous are free of them.
Thus, depending upon their constituent, their overall properties vary, and so does their recycling value.
Ferrous metals are known for their strength and durability, which is mainly attributed to their iron content. These properties make ferrous metals quite common in construction work. They are used in making railroad tracks, piping, shipping containers, and a number of domestic and commercial tools. Some of the ferrous metals like carbon steel are also used in the construction of bridges and tall buildings. Ferrous metals are more widely available and are more common in recycling than non-ferrous metals.
High Magnetic Properties
Iron is a polar element that makes ferrous metal highly magnetic. This is one of the most prominent features of ferrous metals, which makes them easy to sort.
Highly Vulnerable To Rusting
One of the major drawbacks of ferrous metals is their vulnerability to rusting. Due to a high amount of carbon, ferrous metals corrode away quite easily when they come in contact with moisture or other rusting elements. Exceptions to that property are stainless steel and wrought iron, the two types of ferrous metals that do not rust.
Examples Of Ferrous Metals
- Carbon steel
- Stainless steel
- Cast iron
- Wrought iron
Non-ferrous metals do not contain iron. They are highly malleable – meaning they can easily take different shapes without breaking. This makes them extremely useful for making jewellery. Apart from that, non-ferrous metals are also used in the roofing, outdoor signs, liquid pipes, and gutters.
Non-ferrous metals are more valuable than ferrous metals and offer better value upon recycling. However, they are not as common as ferrous metals.
Low Tensile Strength
Most non-ferrous metals cannot bear force or weight. They are not as strong as ferrous metals and thus do not qualify to be used in high rise building and bridge construction. However, with its extreme durability and tensile strength, titanium comes as an exception to this property.
Low Magnetic Properties
The absence of iron in non-ferrous metals makes them non-magnetic. Although a little difficult to sort, they are highly useful in making electronic appliances and wiring.
High Resistance To Rusting
Iron content plays a vital role in the rusting of metals. Non-ferrous metals, being completely free of them, exhibit high resistance to rusting and corrosion. This makes them lasting and reliable.
Examples Of Non-Ferrous Metals
Ferrous And Non-Ferrous -Combination
Despite their different properties, there are several instances of the two types of metals being used together. For example, ferrous metal is covered in non-ferrous to combine the strength and durability of the two types of metals.