Ferrous Metals vs. Non Ferrous Metals

Difference between Ferrous and Non-ferrous Metals Elements of metallic in nature are grouped into two main groups, the…

Difference between Ferrous and Non-ferrous Metals

Elements of metallic in nature are grouped into two main groups, the Ferrous and the Non-ferrous metals, whereas the earth’s chemical are termed to either non-metal or now-metal. In much consideration metal are substances that conduct electricity and heat, are ductile and malleable. The metals are further classified into ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Ferrous metals are those metals with iron as part of their component.

They possess the magnetic properties due to the presence of iron in them. Ferrous is derived from the Latin word Ferrum which means something that has iron in it. The magnetic property differentiates them from the non-ferrous which are non-magnetic in nature. Good examples of the ferrous metals include; carbon and stainless steel and wrought iron. On the other hand aluminium, brass and copper form the non-ferrous metals.

The non ferrous have very distinct characteristics from those of ferrous metals. They are mostly used as industrial appliances. This is associated to their good resistance to corrosion, reduced weight, high strength, high melting point and their non-magnetic nature. They are also mostly applied in fabrication of electronic appliances.

Non ferrous metals contain no trace of iron or any alloy of iron in them.  The magnetic property of ferrous materials varies depending with the extent of iron in them. Some of these metals are not even magnetic at all.

A good example is stainless steel which is associated to the process that is used in its preparation process. It is made in the presence of nitric acid which makes it to lose iron and remain with nickel. This totally eliminates its magnetic characteristics even though it is classified to be one of the ferrous metals. All ferrous metals are prone to oxidation when subjected to ideal conditions. This is shown in ferrous metals by red deposit in their surfaces.


Ferrous metals

  • Have iron in them
  • Posses the magnetic property
  • Undergoes the process of oxidation

Non ferrous metals

  • Have no iron in them
  • Does not undergo oxidation making them suitable for most industrial applications
  • They do not have magnetic properties.


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