What are Non-ferrous Metals?

What are Non-ferrous Metals?

Non-ferrous metals can commonly be found in roofing, water pipes, gutters, road signs, small electronics, aircraft, and bottle tops.

They’re also in our televisions, mobile phones, jewellery boxes, electrical cables, and kitchen drawers. Here’s a quick introduction to non-ferrous metals and how to tell them apart from ferrous metals:

What is a Non-Ferrous Metal?

 

Non-ferrous metals can commonly be found in roofing, water pipes, gutters, road signs, small electronics, aircraft, and bottle tops.
They’re also in our televisions, mobile phones, jewellery boxes, electrical cables, and kitchen drawers. Here’s a quick introduction to non-ferrous metals and how to tell them apart from ferrous metals:

 


Characteristics of Non-Ferrous Metals 

Unlike ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals do not contain any iron, which means they have a higher resistance to rust and corrosion. They are also more malleable, non-magnetic and weigh less than ferrous metals, which means they are ideal for lighter projects like aeroplanes and spacecraft.

 

Types of Non-Ferrous Metals

Aluminium is a lightweight metal. Its strength increases at high temperatures and it is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.

Copper is a malleable metal with high toxicity. It is most commonly used for electrical products because of its high conductivity and slow corrosion rate.

Zinc burns in air with a bluish-green flame and is commonly used in products like sunscreen, make-up, paints and lotions.

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. It is valued for its ability to bend and mould with ease while retaining its strength. It is commonly used for nuts, bolts, jets, and taps.

Nickel is the fifth most common element on earth. It has a high melting point, resists corrosion, and is magnetic at room temperature.

Tin is a malleable metal that can be highly polished. It resists oxidisation but will dissolve in acid, and produce a slightly acidic oxide when heated.

Lead is a highly poisonous metal and is very resistant to corrosion. It is a poor conductor of electricity and is commonly used as shielding from radiation (e.g. in x-ray rooms).

Precious metals, like gold and silver, have a relatively high melting and boiling point. They are also less reactive, softer, and easily moldable.

 

Application of Non-Ferrous Metals

Non-ferrous metals have found a way into a variety of common applications due to their properties, such as  

1. Copper is an excellent electrical conductor and very malleable, which has led to it being used in the majority of electrical applications across industry and the home. applications include wiring of all types and motor windings. Its low corrosion properties also lend its use to plumbing and other piping such as central heating systems.

2. Aluminium conducts electricity and is used in wiring applications, though often reinforced with steel. It can be found in the manufacture of vehicle engines and aircraft parts due to its comparative lightness. Common household use is in kitchen foil and food containers.

3. Chromium is extremely tough with excellent resistance to corrosion and heat. It is frequently used for decoration on vehicle exhaust systems for this reason. Other uses include the production of synthetic rubies and its salts are used in the leather tanning process.

4. Zinc is easily worked and found most commonly as a coating on steel roof structures. It is also used in rust proofing paint manufacture and receptacles such as buckets and water tanks.

5. Lead is extremely malleable, though heavy and has two primary uses. Firstly as flashing on traditional roof structures and secondly as protection in environments that operate x-ray equipment, such as hospitals.

6. Brass is a copper & zinc alloy that is primarily used for castings and ornaments. It’s excellent electrical conducting properties make it invaluable in household items such as light switches and consumer units.

 


Non-Ferrous Metals Recycling

Non-ferrous metals are among the few materials that do not degrade or lose their chemical properties when they are recycled. For this reason, they can be recycled an infinite number of times. Recycling scrap metal is an environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient way to create brand new products without wasting precious resources and valuable raw materials.

 


How to Turn Them into Cash

 

There is a very high percentage of metal recycled annually and this is due to scrap metal prices making it lucrative. In general, the most valuable are lead and clean aluminium, though other products such as copper do carry an excellent price per ton.


Do you have old scrap parts? Are non-ferrous metals just lying around? Bring them into MetalBiz and we’ll recycle them for you. We even offer cash for old cars! Contact us today.