What is ferrous metal? What is non-ferrous metal? Perhaps a better question is this: Do you take your metal with iron or without? Ferrous metals contain iron, non-ferrous metals generally do not.

For instance, non-ferrous metals include aluminum, copper, brass, bronze, and nickel.

From there, the metals are further defined by the alloying elements, so it’s important to keep in mind what the general chemistry does to both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Is Steel a Ferrous Metal?

All steel contains iron, meaning steel is indeed a ferrous metal. In fact, steel contains about 98% iron—it’s the rest of the makeup of the metal that truly defines what it’s best suited to do.

For example, by adding:


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When Does Carbon Become Alloy?

Carbon steel becomes an alloy steel when a definite range of alloying elements are added to give the steel special properties. These properties may include hardness, toughness, and strength-to-weight ratios.

The primary purpose for an alloy steel is to respond to thermal treatment with more robust and predictable results.

The adding of any metallic element in production to increase hardness, strength, or corrosion resistance. Among the strongest grades is A36.

Let's take a look at other elements added and the impact it has on the carbon steel.

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Is Aluminum a Ferrous Metal?

Aluminum is considered a non-ferrous metal. The primary source of aluminum is bauxite ore. This is chemically processed to produce alumina (aluminum oxide), which is then smelted using an electrolysis process to produce pure aluminum metal.

In pure form, aluminum is silvery white and extremely lightweight. When combined with other alloys and elements, aluminum becomes stronger and conducts heat and electricity well.

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Is Stainless Steel a Ferrous Metal?

The primary alloying element in stainless steel is iron, but it contains a low amount of carbon—which means it is considered a non-ferrous metal. Find out all you need to know about stainless steel here. 

Stainless, which has five different families of grades, is known primarily for its chromium (usually a minimum of 10.5%). This alloying element helps provide a glossy finish and contributes to its resistance to tarnishing and rusting.

The presence of molybdenum elevates the corrosion resistance of stainless steel.  is what sets stainless steel apart from most other forms of steel. Stainless steel 316 and stainless steel 303 are among those with the highest amounts of molybdenum.

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