Tag: Scrap Metal – Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals

Scrap Metal – Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals

Two Types of Metal, Ferrous and Non-Ferrous

When you talk about scrap metal, there are two different types that are regularly referred to; Ferrous, and Non-Ferrous metals. In this article you’ll understand the basic differences between these metals, how to determine the differences for yourself, and some resources where to find them.

Ferrous Metals
We’ll first discuss ferrous metal. Ferrous metal is mostly used for things like machinery, cars, motors, farm implements, and other uses such as appliances, like stoves refrigerators, washers, dryers, and freezers. Lawn mowers are usually made from a combination of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Most of your smaller push type mowers, generally speaking, the motors are usually made from aluminum (a non-ferrous metal); however, the deck and handle assembly are made from ferrous metals.Click scrap metal.

How to Determine if the Metal You Are Looking at is Ferrous or Not

Two of the best ways to discern if a piece of metal you are looking at is made of ferrous metals or not are these: Does a magnet stick to it? And, if it’s an older piece of metal, is there any rust on it?

Does a magnet stick to it?
The biggest ingredient in ferrous metal is iron, or iron ore, which is a very magnetic material. Therefore, if you always carry a magnet around with you, you’ll know immediately if the piece of metal is ferrous or not. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and stainless steel (another non-ferrous metal) is one of those exceptions. Even though the main component for making steel itself is iron, high quality stainless steel has a high amount of nickel in it (another non-ferrous metal) and, therefore, a magnet will not stick to it.

Is there any rust on it?
The second and usually more common way to determine whether the metal you have just found is ferrous or not is if you can visibly see any rust anywhere on the item. Rust will especially be more prevalent on any areas that were touching the ground. Obviously, if an old piece of ferrous metal has been left out in the elements, it’s usually covered in rust, as a rule. Non-ferrous metals do not rust. They do, however, sometimes oxidize. We’ll discuss that later in this article.

Scrap Metal Buyers Should Always Carry a Magnet
Non-ferrous metals (and there quite a few to discuss here) usually do not contain any, or only small traces, of iron, and thus are not magnetic. If you are into scrap metal recycling or are thinking or starting a scrap metal business, one of your very best friends should be a magnet. I recommend using one that is on a chain, and one that has VERY strong magnetic charge, because that is what you’ll see all the people at the scrap yards using. A weak magnet can sometimes fool you, because you are strong, and the magnet is weak, you can touch it quickly and pull it away quickly, and think that you have a piece of non-ferrous metal when in fact the metal you just found is actually ferrous metal. That is also the reason that I recommend that your magnet should dangle from a chain, simply waving the magnet in front of a ferrous piece of metal will cause the magnet to “sway” or be “influenced” by the ferrous metal in some way.

Non-Ferrous Metals
As opposed to its ferrous counter parts, non-ferrous metals, as mentioned earlier, do not rust. However, some non-ferrous metals do oxidize. Oxidation is the process where there is a layer formed on the outside of a piece of metal. Aluminum is one metal in particular that tends to oxidize rather than rust. Interestingly enough, it is roughly the same process; however, with the lack of iron contained in the metal, the oxidation looks white and flaky as opposed to reddish and porous looking.