What is a Non-Ferrous Metal?
When a metal is defined as non-ferrous it means that it does not have a significant amount of iron in its chemical composition. Note the word “significant”; nearly all metal alloys have some trace, or non-significant, amount of iron in their composition. This does not make them ferrous alloys though. Non-ferrous alloys generally have iron compositions of less than one percent as measured by weight. If iron constitutes a large percentage of a metal, such as if it is the first or second most abundant element in the metal’s chemical composition, then the metal is considered ferrous.
What are the Common Properties of Non-Ferrous Metals?
It is nearly impossible to define the common properties of non-ferrous metals simply because there is such a large variety of metals that fall into the non-ferrous category. Some non-ferrous metals are hard and brittle, some soft and ductile. Some non-ferrous metals are made for cryogenic applications, others are made to withstand extremely high temperatures. There are far more differences than there are similarities among the different types of non-ferrous metals.
Examples of Non-Ferrous Metals
There are a variety of non-ferrous metals in use in the industry today. Listed below are a variety of the more popular ones: