What Are Ferrous Metals?

July 11, 2022

What Are Ferrous Metals

Metals can be categorized into a wide range of categories. Some metals could be brittle while others could be ductile. Some metals are completely devoid of magnetism, while others may be magnetic. The distinctions described above are significant ones, but one of the most significant ones to consider when classifying metals is whether they are ferrous or non-ferrous metals.

What Is A Ferrous Metal?

Any metal with magnetic properties and an iron-based main component is said to be ferrous. Ferrous metal is renowned for its tensile strength, durability, and hardness. Carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron, and alloy steel are a few common types of ferrous metals.

Properties Of Ferrous Metal

In the past, ferrous metals have been known and used for their strength. They are ideal for use in both the industrial and architectural fields for projects like buildings, bridges, trains, and automobiles because of their unique features. Ferrous metals are frequently employed in a variety of appliances and engines because of their magnetic characteristics. While wrought iron and stainless steel are exceptions due to their high iron concentration and high chromium content, respectively, ferrous metals typically have a higher carbon content. This makes them more vulnerable to rust. Ferrous metals are extensively employed in virtually every industry, including the production of shipping containers, industrial pipelines, cars, railroad tracks, ships, and numerous household and commercial products.

Types Of Ferrous Metal And Their Uses

Some common types of ferrous metals are carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron, and alloy steel.

1. Carbon Steel

The most popular form of ferrous metal is carbon steel. Over 90% of their chemical makeup is made up of metal iron, which makes up the majority of them. Carbon is the only other significant alloying element in carbon steel. Other components are present, but they are quite minimal. Structures, construction, and automobile parts are some common uses for carbon steel.

2. Stainless Steel

Another group of widely used ferrous metals is stainless steel. Generally speaking, stainless steel has a high chromium content that makes them more corrosion resistant than carbon steel. Subgroups of stainless steel can be further divided. The highest levels of nickel and chromium are found in austenitic stainless steels, which offer maximum corrosion resistance. Ferritic, martensitic, and duplex stainless steels are also available. Depending on the use, each offers different benefits and drawbacks. Appliances, pharmaceutical and medical equipment, food-grade equipment, and knives are among the common uses for stainless steel.

3. Cast Iron

Cast iron has a higher carbon content than most ferrous metals. As a result, it becomes much stronger. Despite its strength, it is very fragile. As it consists only of iron and carbon, it is an inexpensive ferrous metal. A common application for cast iron is in mining equipment, small wear-prone parts like gears, rods, and pins, as well as cookware

4. Alloy Steel

A type of ferrous metal called alloy steel is created especially for a particular use. In addition to their iron composition, alloy steels can be made to have increased toughness, ductility, tensile strength, hardness, and other qualities by adding copper, vanadium, tungsten, and other elements. Alloy steel is often used to make tools, dies, and machining equipment.


Even though it may be challenging to pinpoint universal properties for all ferrous materials, several general characteristics can be determined rather precisely. Particularly when compared to other alloys, ferrous metals often have significant levels of strength. Ferrous metals tend to be highly durable, but they can also rust if they are not coated or alloyed with numerous other elements.

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