What are ferrous metals

What are ferrous metals?

When it comes to metals, and specifically scrap metals, there are two main categories that they can fall into: ferrous and non-ferrous. So, what exactly are they? Firstly, let’s take a look at ferrous metals.

What does the word ‘ferrous’ mean?

Outside of the realms of chemistry, the word ferrous is used to describe a metal that contains iron. This, of course, includes iron itself and extends to include all alloys of iron, such as steels.

Identifying ferrous metals

As a general rule, these metals are magnetic. This makes it pretty easy to identify their ferrous nature with a simple fridge magnet. If the magnet sticks, you’ve probably got a ferrous metal. One alternative being nickel, a silvery non-ferrous metal, although that is mainly used to form alloys, rather than being used by itself.

One exception can be stainless steel as not all of the ‘recipes’ used to create the alloy result in a magnetic metal. However, it does provide a shiny silver-coloured surface that is highly resistant to corrosion.

What are their benefits?

Generally speaking, ferrous metals are tough. A vast number of the various alloys of iron are particularly hard-wearing or have high tensile strengths. This makes them the ideal building materials for large structures such as bridges or skyscrapers. Or perfect for use in making tools and machinery that have to endure plenty of heavy-duty usage.

The magnetic nature of these metals, understandably, means they are a prime candidate for anything that makes use of magnetism. This could be in motors or some other electrical applications.

Some alloys, such as stainless steel, are also made to be more resistant to corrosion, or rust, than others. This makes them perfect for use in applications where they will be frequently washed or exposed to the elements. This includes being used to make cutlery, kitchen surfaces and surgical equipment as well as things like outdoor play equipment.

That about sums up ferrous metals, they’re any metal with iron in. So, if you’re interested in getting the best prices for your scrap ferrous metal and you’re based in Staffordshire, why not contact us on 01782 614 456 for today’s prices?

Alternatively, if you are interested in reading about non-ferrous metals you can find out more on our non-ferrous metals page.


By law, we are no longer permitted to pay cash for scrap metal and now require photo ID as well as proof of your address. So, don’t forget to bring your:

  • Photo card driving licence
  • Photograph ID (e.g. passport) accompanied by proof of address (utility bill or bank statement) which is no older than three months