What is non-ferrous metal?
As discussed on our ferrous metals page, non-ferrous metal is the second of the two main categories that all scrap metals fall into. But what exactly is a non-ferrous metal?
While the term ferrous metal refers to any metal or alloy that contains iron, non-ferrous means the exact opposite. As a result, the term is generally used to refer to a wide array of metals that do not feature any form of iron whatsoever.
Identifying non-ferrous metals
Unfortunately, identifying non-ferrous metals is not as easy as identifying ferrous metals. However, there are a few things to go on.
Many metals just look silvery in colour. However, non-ferrous metals such as brass, copper and bronze in their untarnished state are not. These three are actually yellowy gold, a pale reddish colour and a darker copper colour respectively.
When it comes to the silver-coloured metals, it tends to be harder to define which non-ferrous metal you have by sight alone. There are some differences in the colour, but depending on how tarnished the metal is, this may be misleading. As a result, you may be better off working based on the application and density of the metal. Lead for example is very dense and is likely to be used in construction and soldering.
Another pointer is that non-ferrous metals are often more malleable, or more easily changed into a new shape, than ferrous metals. This, however, is relative, so we wouldn’t recommend going around trying to bend bits of metal in an attempt to work out which one they are.
What are the benefits of non-ferrous metals?
One of the main benefits of non-ferrous metals is, as mentioned above, their ability to be more easily shaped. For example, this allows a plumber to bend household gas/water piping to the shape required on-site with little in the way of heavy-duty tools.
Another benefit is their resistance to corrosion. Many non-ferrous metals do not corrode easily, making them ideal for applications where a ferrous metal would simply rust away. For example, in addition to being used for piping, copper is used for wiring too. Here its corrosion resistance helps to ensure long-lasting and reliable electrical conductivity.
And while non-ferrous metals will corrode given the right conditions, this often results in very thin, non-damaging layers that then go on to provide protection for the metal underneath. This is a concept that is put to use when galvanising steel with zinc.
That about covers non-ferrous metals, they’re basically any metal or alloy that doesn’t feature iron. So, why not contact us on 01782 614 456 to find out today’s best prices for your non-ferrous scrap metal?
We are no longer permitted to pay cash for scrap metal by law. We 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