What are Ferrous Metals and Non-Ferrous Metals?

At Morecambe Metals, we specialise in the recycling of different types of metals, including ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals. These metals have different properties, so it is essential that we know what these properties are, so we can deal with them correctly when we put them through the recycling process.

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What is a Ferrous Metal?

Ferrous metals can be found in a huge range of applications due to their beneficial qualities. What makes a metal a ferrous metal is the fact that its mixed composition mostly contains iron, which makes these metals magnetic. It is this iron that gives them their name – the Latin word for iron is ‘ferrum’.

Consisting of different metals, ferrous metals are alloys. They are often used in applications such as vehicles, construction and manufacturing due to their strong and durable properties, however, the high carbon content means most of these metals do not mix well with moisture and will rust easily.

Examples of ferrous metal:

  • Cast iron
  • Wrought iron
  • High carbon steel

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What is a Non-Ferrous Metal?

A non-ferrous metal does not contain any iron, so its properties are very different. These metals do not contain iron, they are not magnetic, and they can withstand moisture without rusting, so they are often used in applications that may involve exposure to moisture. This includes applications such as jewellery, construction (e.g. roofing and pipes), electrical fittings and aerospace.

Examples of non-ferrous metal:

  • Aluminium
  • Copper
  • Gold
  • Lead
  • Stainless steel

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The Recycling Process

The processes for ferrous metal recycling and non-ferrous metal recycling differ due to the different properties of these metals.

Ferrous metals have a relatively low melting point, depending on the levels of carbon within the metal. This means that they are particularly easy to recycle. We have the capacity to process up to 2000 tonnes of ferrous metal for recycling per week. We recycle a huge variety of ferrous metals such as:

  • Cast iron
  • Heavy carbon steel turnings
  • Steel strip and wire
  • New production steel sheets
  • Loose light steel cuttings
  • Constructional scrap
  • Heavy old steel

Non-ferrous metals tend to have a higher melting point than ferrous metals and they have a greater resistance to corrosion. This means that the recycling process must be tailored for these metals. We have a number of techniques and machinery to sort and produce the recycled material which is prepared ready for furness and smelter feeds. They can then be recycled into new products. We recycle a number of different non-ferrous metals, including:

  • Cast aluminium
  • Copper wiring
  • Brass castings
  • Lead Piping

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It is essential that we know our metals, so we can process and recycle them correctly. We have a fantastic, highly-trained team who are experts at what they do, allowing us to deliver the volume and quality services that we offer. If you are interested in finding out more about any of our services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team who will be more than happy to advise you further. You can call us on 01524 691191 or drop us an email at info@morecambemetals.co.uk.