Ferrous Metals vs Non Ferrous Metals
Ferrous metals and non ferrous metals are subdivisions of metallic elements. Chemical elements found in nature are broadly classified into two categories, metals and non metals. Metals are substances that are good conductors of electricity and heat, are malleable and ductile, and have a lustrous appearance. Metals are further divided into two groups called ferrous metals and non ferrous metals. The word ferrous comes from the Latin word Ferrum which means anything that contains iron. Hence, ferrous metals are those that contain iron in some form and percentage. Because of the presence of iron, ferrous metals are magnetic in nature and this property differentiates them from non ferrous metals. Ferrous metals also have a high tensile strength. Some examples of ferrous metals are carbon steel, stainless steel and wrought iron. Some examples of non ferrous metals are aluminum, brass, copper etc.
Non ferrous metals have properties different from ferrous metals and are used for industrial applications. They are mainly used because of reduced weight, higher strength, non magnetic properties, higher melting points and resistance to corrosion, whether chemical or atmospheric. These non ferrous metals are also ideal for electrical and electronic applications.
Thus it is clear that non ferrous metal is any metal that does not contain iron or any alloy of metals which do not contain iron as a component. Most, but not all, ferrous metals are magnetic in nature but in magnetism, ferrous metals vary depending upon the amount of iron they contain. Stainless steel, though it contains iron is not magnetic in nature because of the process that makes it stainless. It is put in nitric acid to get rid of iron and what remains is a lot of nickel thus making it non magnetic though it still classifies as a ferrous metal. Ferrous metals are known for their ability to allow for oxidation which is a property known as corrosion. Oxidation of ferrous metals can be seen in a reddish brown deposit on the surface which is an oxide of iron.