Non-Ferrous Metals

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Non-Ferrous Metals: Properties

Non-ferrous metals are metals that do not contain iron.

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Aesthetic properties

  • Non-ferrous metals are not usually magnetic.
  • Non-ferrous metals have a wide range of aesthetic properties.
  • Non-ferrous metals do not rust but they can still oxidise.
    • This can create a protective layer known as patina.
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Metallic luster

  • Non-ferrous metals are often associated with their characteristic metallic lustre.
    • Metallic lustre is a result of the ability to reflect light.
  • Non-ferrous metals can exhibit a wide range of colours under certain conditions.

Non-Ferrous Metals: Examples

There are a large number of non-ferrous metals, covering every metal that does not contain iron.

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  • Copper has excellent electrical and thermal conductivity.
  • Copper is used in electrical wiring, plumbing pipes, and roofing materials.
  • Copper alloys are popular in applications where increased strength is required.
    • Copper alloys include brass and bronze.
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  • Aluminium has low density, high strength, and excellent corrosion resistance.
  • Aluminium is used in the aerospace industry, construction, packaging, and electrical conductors.
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  • Zinc is used as a protective coating for other metals.
    • The protective coating is formed through galvanization.
    • Galvanisation provides corrosion resistance to steel.
  • Zinc is used in the construction industry.
    • For example, roofing, gutters, and downspouts.
  • Zinc alloys are used in die casting as sacrificial anodes.
    • Sacrificial anodes protect other metals from corrosion.
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  • Lead has high density and low melting point.
  • Lead is used for batteries, ammunition, and radiation shielding.
    • In recent years, lead use has become more restricted due to its toxicity.

Non-Ferrous Metals: Examples

There are a large number of non-ferrous materials, including metals and alloys that do not contain iron.

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  • Tin is used as a coating on other metals, preventing corrosion.
  • Tin-plated steel is used in food packaging, cans, and containers.
    • Tin-plated steel is known as tinplate.
  • Tin is used in the production of soder for electronic circuits and alloys.
    • For example, tin is used to produce bronze.
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  • Nickel has high strength, corrosion resistance, and heat resistance.
  • Nickel is used in stainless steel production.
    • Stainless steel is used in a range of applications, including kitchen utensils and industrial equipment.
  • Nickel is used in batteries, electrical wiring, and various alloys.
    • Nickel is used in superalloys which are used in high-temperature applications.
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  • Titanium is lightweight and corrosion-resistant.
  • Titanium has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio.
  • Titanium is used in aerospace applications, medical implants, and sports equipment.
    • Titanium is used in high-performance components in various industries.

Jump to other topics

1Core Technical Principles

2Paper & Board: Specialist Technical Principles

3Timber: Specialist Technical Principles

4Metal: Specialist Technical Principles

5Polymers: Specialist Technical Principles

6Textiles: Specialist Technical Principles

7Designing & Making Principles

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