Ferrous Vs. Non-Ferrous Metals: Basics and Uses

There are a number of considerations that may be at play for any metal fabrication project, and one of these is the type of metal being used. While there are several ways to split up metals within such conversations, one of the most common and useful in many situations is categorizing them based on ferrous versus non-ferrous properties.

At Cypress Metals, we’re proud to offer the best metal fabrication and laser cutting services in Salt Lake City and nearby areas, offering products ranging from custom metal fascia to roof packages, accessories and more. In this two-part blog series, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about ferrous versus non-ferrous metals — what this term means, some examples of each, and why you should be considering one or the other for your project needs.

ferrous non-ferrous metals basics

Basic Differences

At the core of the differences between ferrous and non-ferrous metals is the presence, or lack thereof, of iron. Ferrous metals contain at least some level of iron, while non-ferrous metals do not. This is the key distinction that separates these two types of metals from one another.

There are a few key reasons for why this difference matters. For one, it makes ferrous metals more prone to rust and corrosion than non-ferrous metals. This is because the iron in ferrous metals can oxidize and break down over time when exposed to certain conditions, like water or air. Non-ferrous metals, on the other hand, are more resistant to these sorts of conditions.

The presence of iron in ferrous metals also gives them a stronger magnetic pull than non-ferrous metals. This is due to the fact that iron is a naturally magnetic element. This difference can be useful in certain applications where magnets are needed, or where metals need to resist being pulled by a magnet.

Finally, ferrous metals are generally heavier and harder than non-ferrous metals. This is again due to the presence of iron, which makes these metals more dense.

Both Have Uses in Metal Fabrication

Both ferrous and non-ferrous metals have their own unique properties and uses, which is why both are often employed in metal fabrication projects.

Ferrous metals, for example, are well-suited for applications where strength and durability are key. This is because these metals are heavier and harder than non-ferrous metals, making them more resistant to wear and tear. They’re often used in construction projects, as well as in the manufacturing of machinery and equipment.

Meanwhile, non-ferrous metals are often chosen for applications where corrosion resistance is important. This is because these metals are less prone to rusting than ferrous metals. They’re often used in the fabrication of outdoor furniture and signage, as well as in the food and beverage industry.

So, which type of metal is right for your project? In our next blog post, we’ll take a closer look at some specific ferrous and non-ferrous metals to help you make an informed decision.

For more on this, or to learn about any of our SLC metal fabrication, laser cutting or related services, speak to the team at Cypress Metals today.