In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the simplest differences between ferrous and non-ferrous metals, particularly within the metal fabrication world. These two designations, which refer primarily to iron content in a given metal, separate various metals in different ways — and while both have applications in metal fabrication, knowing which you’re working with is important for several reasons.
At Cypress Metals, we’re proud to serve as the best full-service metal fabrication shop in Salt Lake City, providing quality manufacturing for a wide range of products that runs from commercial accessories and roofing items through metal glazing and more. While part one of our series went over the differences between these types, today’s part two will look at common examples of metals that fall into either category.
Ferrous Metal Examples and Properties
Here are some examples of well-known ferrous metals, plus some of their properties:
- Stainless steel: This is a popular alloy that’s used in cookware and food preparation, among other applications. It contains chromium, which gives it rust-resistant properties.
- Carbon steel: Another popular alloy, carbon steel is used in a wide range of applications from construction to automotive work. It gets its name from the fact that it contains carbon (usually between 0.04% and 2%), which gives it increased hardness.
- Wrought iron: Wrought iron is a historic metal that’s no longer produced, but which can still be found in some applications. It contains less carbon than steel, making it more ductile.
- Cast iron: Cast iron is a metal that’s used in some construction applications, particularly for drainage pipes. It has a high carbon content, which makes it brittle.
Each of these metals has different properties that make them more or less ideal for certain applications. In general, ferrous metals are strong and durable, making them good choices for construction and other applications where strength is important. However, they’re also susceptible to rusting, which is why some alloys like stainless steel are used in damp or wet environments.
Non-Ferrous Metal Examples and Properties
Now let’s look at the flip side of the above:
- Aluminum: Aluminum is a lightweight metal that’s used in a wide range of applications, from food packaging to construction. It’s also used in some electronics because it conducts electricity well.
- Copper: Copper is another popular electrical conductor, and it’s also used in plumbing and some jewelry. It has a reddish color when it’s new, but it oxidizes over time to a greenish hue.
- Brass: Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, and it’s used in everything from musical instruments to doorknobs. It has a yellowish color, and it’s relatively strong and durable.
- Zinc: Zinc is used in a number of applications, including coatings for other metals to protect them from corrosion.
These non-ferrous metals share some common properties: they’re all resistant to rust, and they’re all relatively lightweight. This makes them good choices for applications where weight is a concern, such as in aviation. They also don’t conduct electricity as well as some other metals, which can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the application.
For more on the differences between these products or how to choose the ideal material for your needs, or to learn about any of our metal fabrication or laser cutting services in SLC or nearby parts of Utah, contact the pros at Cypress Metals today.