When you are dealing with metal, whether for recycling or construction purposes, you may come across a time that requires you to know how to separate ferrous metal from non-ferrous metal. Fortunately, this test is easy to do, and can be done on the spot virtually anywhere.
Continue reading to learn the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metal, and how to perform a quick test to distinguish between them.
➥ Ferrous metal is any metal that contains traces of iron.
Ferrous metals are heavier, less malleable, and contain magnetic properties. Also, they are more vulnerable to rust. If you see rust, the metal is definitely a ferrous one. Ferrous metal is commonly used to manufacture or construct commodities that can resist corrosion and remain strong and stable, such as industrial containers, rail roads, farming equipment, automotive parts, motors, drill bits, electrical appliances, power tools, and more. Common examples of ferrous metals include carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron, wrought iron, mild steel, and any other forms of steel and iron.
➥ Non-ferrous metal is any metal that does not contain iron.
Non-ferrous metals are lighter and more malleable than ferrous metals. These qualities make them a common manufacturing material for industries that have weight restrictions, but require strength, such as aviation or food canning. Non-ferrous metals also have a high resistance to rust and corrosion. As a result, nonferrous metal is widely used in the production of house gutters, road signs, roofs, piping, and more. Metals like copper, nickel, aluminum, brass, lead, tin, zinc, and more are all examples of nonferrous metals. Also, precious metals are iron-free; such as gold, chromium, tungsten, silver, zirconium, mercury, cobalt, bismuth, cadmium, beryllium, and more.
The Ferrous Test:
In order to distinguish ferrous from non-ferrous metals is to perform a manual test. To perform this test, all you need is a strong magnet. You see, as mentioned, ferrous metals retain magnetic qualities, and non-ferrous metals do not. So if a magnet sticks to your metal, it contains iron, which also means it is ferrous metal. If the magnet does not attract, the metal does not contain iron, which means it is non-ferrous.