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Ferrous Metals

Today all the known elements are classified as metals, non-metals and metalloids. Metals can be defined as the elements which are electropositive, having lusture, malleable, ductile. They have 1, 2 or 3 valence electrons therefore tend to lose them to get octet or stable configuration. Hence they convert into metal ions which positive charge. Unlike metal, non-metals are electronegative elements which tend to accept electrons to get the octet configuration because they have 5, 6 or 7 valence electrons therefore they tend to accept electrons to the octet configuration. They usually exist in the form of liquid or gaseous form whereas metals are hard and exist in solid state. Metalloids exhibit intermediate properties of metals and non-metals. In the Modern Periodic Table, metals are placed at the left side of the table whereas all non-metals with few metals are placed at the right side of the table.

Metalloids are placed as a zig-zag line between metals and non-metals and show a conversion of metallic properties to non-metallic properties. There are 18 groups and 8 periods in the Modern Periodic Table. Group-1 & 2 consists of very reactive metals called as Alkali metals and Alkaline Earth Metals. They have 1 and 2 valence electrons and tend to lose them quickly to form metal ions. They are soft, shiny in nature and form alkalis with water. From Group-3 to 12, metals are little different. They also show tendency to lose electrons but they have incomplete d- orbitals and show variable oxidation states. That is the reason; they are also called as d-block element or Transition elements. Unlike Alkali or Alkaline earth metals, they are hard, malleable and ductile in nature. Copper, Iron, Zinc, Manganese and Chromium are some common examples of d-block elements. They also form metallic oxides which are alkaline in nature and have lusture surface. The properties of non-metals and metalloids are different from metals.  Metals of d-block can be broadly classified as ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals. In this article we will discuss the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

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Ferrous Metals Definition

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As the name explains, ferrous metals contain some extent of ferrous that is iron. No doubt ferrous metals exhibit several unique properties which make them different from other metals. Ferrous metals can be defined as the metals which involve iron such as steel, wrought iron etc. Unlike ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals have been used since the beginning of civilization after the discovery of copper. Many alloys of copper like bronze, brass are examples of non-ferrous metals. Whereas use of ferrous metals started after the discovery of production methods of iron in around 1200 BC and also called as Iron Age. Due to presence of iron in ferrous metals, they usually exhibit magnetic properties. For instance, steel is an iron alloy in which also contains a certain amount of carbon. It is one of the most - recycled material l also one of the most common material to be used in various field like in the manufacturing of containers, vehicles, appliances, industrial machinery and construction materials.

Ferrous Metals List

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Some of the common ferrous metals are listed below:
  • Mild steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Wrought steel
  • Cast iron
  • Carbon steel

Ferrous Metals Properties

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Alloy steel, carbon steel, cast iron and wrought iron are some common examples of ferrous metals. They are well known due to their tensile strength and durability. For example; carbon steel which is also called as structure steel is widely used in the construction industry, in the manufacturing of tallest skyscrapers and longest bridges. Other ferrous metals are also used in the manufacturing of domestic tool, railway tracks, shipping containers, industrial piping, automobiles and many commercial tools. Usually ferrous metals have a high carbon content which makes them corrosion resistance. Wrought iron has corrosion resistance due to its purity whereas stainless steel shows same property due to presence of chromium.

Due to their durability, malleability and ductility they are widely used in motor and electrical applications. Similarly mild steel contains 0.1-0.3% of carbon with iron which makes it useful form engineering purposes. Carbon steel has high content of carbon around 0.6 to 1.4% with 98.6 to 99.4 % of iron. Due to high content of carbon, it is mainly used to make cutting tools such as drill bits. Stainless Steel contains Iron, nickel and chromium, therefore shows resistance against staining and corrosion. It is widely used for the likes of cutlery and surgical instrumentation.  Cast Iron contains 2-6% of carbon with 94 to 98% or iron. It is very strong and brittle in nature and used in engine blocks and manhole covers. Wrought Iron contains 100% of iron and mainly used in manufacturing of ornamental gates and fencing.

Difference Between Ferrous and Nonferrous Metals

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Ferrous metals can be defined as the metals which contain iron whereas non-ferrous metals do not contain iron and show different physical and chemical properties. Aluminum, copper, silver, lead and brass are common examples of non-ferrous metals. Aluminum and alloys of it with copper and manganese are lightweight and easily worked. They are mainly used in aircraft manufacture, window frames and also for kitchen ware. Another example of non-ferrous metal is copper which is a natural occurring metal and a very good conductor of heat and electricity. Therefore it is mainly used in manufacturing of wiring, tubing and pipe work. An alloy of copper and zinc, called as brass is used for ornamental and electrical fittings. Silver one of precious metal forms sterling silver which is mainly used for decorative impact in jewellery and ornaments. Similarly lead is used in roofing due to heaviness and softness.

Ferrous Metals Examples

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Steel, Carbon steel, wrought iron are some common examples of ferrous metals. Steel contains iron with carbon which provides hardness to it. Due to hardness of steel, it is mainly used in the construction and manufacturing industries. It is made by the heating and melting of iron in furnace with mixing of other ingredients in it.
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