Ferrous Metals vs. Non-Ferrous Metals, What’s the Difference?


If you have just finished a project you might have some old metal appliances hanging around that you no longer need and that you’re ready to dispose of. If that is the case it’s important that you understand the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals, to help you divide them properly when it comes to scrapping the materials.

Ferrous alloys contain stainless steel, carbon steel and mild steel, as well as cast iron and wrought iron. Iron has magnetic properties, so if a metal is attracted to magnets, it is commonly used to identify a ferrous alloy.

Non-ferrous metals such as copper, aluminium, zinc, brass, tungsten steel and gold are non-magnetic, corrosion resistant and heavier than ferrous metals.

Ferrous metals are incredibly strong and durable, allowing them to withstand a lot of strain. Ferrous metals are commonly used for projects that need to deal with a high amount of pressure. For example, a house, car or bridge. However, due to their high amount of iron, most ferrous materials rust easily.

Non-ferrous metals are very flexible, they also weigh less than ferrous metals, so are often used in lightweight and malleable projects, such as the aircraft industry. Non-ferrous materials don’t contain iron and therefore don’t rust as quickly, making them more preferable for use in projects exposed to elements e.g. gutters and road signs.

Did you know that steel is the most recycled material on the planet? When you buy a steel object, you can recycle the material very easily. Non-ferrous materials can also be recycled; aluminium is the third most recycled material on the planet.

So if you have any ferrous or non-ferrous materials that you need to get rid of, call us on Wakefield 01924 273649 or Keighley 01535 669899 and talk to one of our team about how you can responsibly recycle and create an income!