Metals 101: Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Materials

There are a lot of metals out there, and here at Sidney Lee Welding Supply, we supply all kinds of metals and welding supplies for Hampton, GA, and the larger Georgia area. Here are the basics.

There are a lot of metals out there, and here at Sidney Lee Welding Supply, we supply all kinds of metals and welding supplies for Hampton, GA, and the larger Georgia area. Here are the basics.

There are different metals that welders can work with – aluminum, alloys, steel – and they fall into two major categories: ferrous and non-ferrous.

What makes a metal ferrous or not? Simply, ferrous metals contain iron and non-ferrous metals do not. It may seem elementary, but the difference between the properties of these metals makes it pertinent to separate them.

Those metals with iron in them, or ferrous metals, are valued for durability and strength. Their non-ferrous counterparts are chosen for the rust resistance (iron rusts very easily), non- magnetic properties, as well as their malleability.

Here are some examples of ferrous metals:

  • Alloy Steel
  • Cast iron
  • Wrought iron
  • Carbon steel
  • Cast steel

These metals are hardy and used for things that need to have resistance to force. Therefore, they are often used for construction, shipping containers, cars, and railroad tracks. Even though that’s just the tip of the iceberg, ferrous metals are generally used when there will be a lot of stress on the metals themselves. Iron can be really handy that way.

Some examples of non-ferrous metals are:

  • Lead
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Tin
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Nickel

A lot of people know how wonderful aluminum can be, since it’s so light and malleable. Some of these other metals like copper and silver are famous for being in machines or systems that are intricate and delicate, and their ability to be formed into the correct shape give them the properties that make it easy to make roofing, road signs, gutters, and pipes for liquid.

So what does that mean when it comes to welding? Each metal will present its own challenges and the same is true for their application in any given project. We’ve got some articles out there that dive into the specifics, like our Copper Welding TechniquesThe Ins and Outs of Stainless Steel, and our series on Welding Methods.

We hope this information can be useful for you, and happy welding!