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Ferrous vs Non-Ferrous: What's the Difference?



The metals we recycle belong to one of two primary classifications - ferrous and non-ferrous metals. We will explain the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metal recycling in Hagersville and Waterford.


Once you learn the distinction, you'll never forget it. And the knowledge will help you separate your material into appropriate groups when recycling metal.



HOW DO FERROUS AND NON-FERROUS METALS DIFFER?

Simply put, ferrous metals contain iron, while non-ferrous metals are without iron. So, iron itself is ferrous, while aluminum is non-ferrous.

Most but not all ferrous metals are magnetic. For example, ordinary steel is magnetic, and so is stainless steel if it doesn't contain nickel. But stainless steel containing nickel is non-magnetic.

Steel is a ferrous metal part of most people's everyday lives, including wrought iron and cast iron.



WHAT IS STEEL?

Steel is the result of combining iron with carbon. The presence of iron means that steel is a ferrous material regardless of what other metals are added.


Carbon was added to iron because its end product, steel, was much stronger than iron. Iron and other metals weren't strong enough or suitable for many of the new industrial projects of the late 19th century.


It was modern steel that made it possible to construct the massive skyscrapers and vast ocean-going vessels that marked the arrival of the 20th century.



FERROUS METALS AND RUST

Carbon makes steel possible but also increases the metal's ability to rust. Rust is a particular concern of most ferrous metals except wrought iron which needs no special protection due to its extremely low carbon content. You may have wrought iron fences and railings in your neighbourhood that have braved the elements for decades.


Anodization can protect other ferrous metals used outside. For example, adding nickel to steel produces stainless steel that's weather resistant.



WHAT IS STAINLESS STEEL?

Stainless steel is a workhorse product in the kitchen, where it's used for sinks, countertops, appliances, cookware, and more. It contains nickel and chromium. But it's the chromium that allows you to wipe away spills so easily.



WHAT IS CARBON STEEL?

Your collection of tools probably includes something made of carbon steel. It may sound strange to refer to metal as "carbon steel" when all steel contains carbon. But in this case, the carbon content is higher than usual, so the byproduct is named carbon steel to help differentiate it from standard steel.



WHAT IS CAST IRON?

Home cooks often use stainless steel frying pans alongside their more traditional cast iron pans. Cast iron is so sturdy that families can pass down pans from generation to generation rather than using metal recycling services.


Cast iron pans have such a rustic appearance that people mistakenly believe they contain 100% iron when they actually contain a notable amount of carbon. The presence of carbon gives neglected cast iron cookware its reputation for rusting.



WHAT ARE SOME NON-FERROUS METALS?

Non-ferrous metals include such familiar metals as aluminum, and titanium. But fabricators can combine non-ferrous metals with ferrous metals to exploit the positive traits of both groups.

Common non-ferrous metals used in this manner are copper, nickel, and zinc. For example, zinc can add a protective layer to iron and steel to prevent rust.


Non-ferrous metals can also join together to make a different material. That's the case with zinc and copper, which together produce brass.



WHERE ARE NON-FERROUS METALS FOUND?

Non-ferrous metals tend to be easier to manipulate than ferrous metals. Their malleability makes them ideal for jewelry and small, delicate machine parts. So, you'll find them in your wedding ring, wristwatch, and smartphone.


You can usually find copper throughout a typical home construction site. It's in both the plumbing and electrical systems.



WHERE TO GO FOR FERROUS AND NON-FERROUS METAL RECYCLING IN HAGERSVILLE AND WATERFORD

There are two convenient locations for recycling ferrous and non-ferrous metals in Hagersville and Waterford. We believe in doing our part to help the environment. After all, the more metals we recycle, the fewer will go to landfills.


So, learn how to dispose of your metals responsibly by contacting JLM Metal Recycling & Auto Parts for more information.


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