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The following are ferrous metals and the kind of uses to which they are usually put: Mild Steel – Carbon content of 0.1 to 0.3% and Iron content of 99.7 – 99.9%. Used for engineering purposes and in general, none specialised metal products.
Carbon steel – Carbon content of 0.6 to 1.4% and Iron content of 98.6 to 99.4 %. Used to make cutting tools such as drill bits.
Stainless Steel – Made up of Iron, nickel and chromium. Resists staining and corrosion and is therefore used for the likes of cutlery and surgical instrumentation. See our infographic celebrating 100 years of stainless steel usage in buildings or the different types of stainless steel.
Cast Iron – carbon 2 – 6% and Iron at 94 to 98%. Very strong but brittle. Used to manufacture items such as engine blocks and manhole covers.
Wrought Iron – Composed of almost 100% iron. Used to make items such as ornamental gates and fencing. Has fallen out of use somewhat.
Non Ferrous Metals
In metallurgy, a non-ferrous metal is a metal, including alloys, that does not contain iron (ferrite) in appreciable amounts. Generally more expensive than ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals are used because of desirable properties such as low weight (e.g. aluminium), higher conductivity (e.g. copper),non-magnetic property or resistance to corrosion (e.g. zinc). Some non-ferrous materials are also used in the iron and steel industries. For example, bauxite is used as flux for blast furnaces, while others such as wolframite, pyrolusite and chromite are used in making ferrous alloys. Important non-ferrous metals include aluminium, copper, lead, nickel, tin, titanium and zinc, and alloys such as brass. Precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum and exotic or rare metals such as cobalt, mercury, tungsten, beryllium, bismuth, cerium, cadmium, niobium, indium, gallium, germanium, lithium, selenium, tantalum, tellurium, vanadium, and zirconium are also non-ferrous They are usually obtained through minerals such as sulfides, carbonates, and silicates. Non-ferrous metals are usually refined through electrolysis.