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Different Types of Nonferrous Metals and their Uses

Types of Nonferrous Metals

Nonferrous metals are metals or alloys that do not have appreciable amount of iron in them. This metals are special due to it properties that include: malleability, non-magnetic, high conductivity, resistance to corrosion and low weight.

Types of nonferrous metals

Even though almost all this types of nonferrous metals are costly than ferrous metals, they are used in industrial application such as: roofing pipes, electrical and gutters. It is suitable for highly corrosive environments such as: liquid, chemical and sewage pipelines. Due to the non-magnetism of of this types metal, it is used in many electrical and electronic appliances. Some nonferrous metals like Aluminum has low weight, Copper has higher conductivity, Zinc are non-magnetic and it is resistance to corrosion.

Most common and important types of nonferrous metals include: Aluminum, Copper, Lead, Nickel, Tin, Titanium, Zinc and Brass. They are used in industrial processes. Some precious nonferrous metals include: Silver, Gold, and Platinum.


Aluminiums are nonferrous metals obtained from bauxites. It consist of impure aluminium oxide with combined and free water and silver and iron oxide as it impurities. It can be extracted in large quantity using electrolytic reduction process.

Aluminium Alloys

The purpose of adding alloying elements is to improve the mechanical properties (hardness, machining qualities, tensile strength, fluidity for casting purposes and give increase resistance to corrosion). This types of nonferrous metals are also used in cast or wrought form (‘wrought’ means worked in some way: for example, forging, rolling, deepdrawing etc.) And the properties of some of these alloys can improved by certain heat treatments, whist in others, the only changes are those resulting to annealing or from work hardening.


Copper is one the most important non-ferrous metals used in the world in a pure state, in form of alloys and as an added element to influence the properties of other metals, which include: (1) Good electrical conductivity and its high heat, (2) Its malleability and ductility, (3) The readiness with which they from alloys, and (4) its resistance to the corrosive effects of the atmosphere through the formation of protective layer of oxides. This non-ferrous metals (coppers) are easily identify with their distinctive, warm red colour.

Copper alloys (Brass)

The term brass covers a wide range of copper-zinc alloys with a corresponding range of properties and applications. This non-ferrous metals (copper content) exceed 80%, the alloy is known as “gilding metal”. It is rich, golden colour, and it is used in decorating works. The brasses find many application in engineering, not only because it marked resistance to corrosive elements, but because of the ease with which they can be rolled, pressed, forged, extruded, drown, cast, machined and joined by hard or soft solders.


Bronze covers a range of copper-tin alloys, but the term is used loosely to describe other based alloys. With an addition of 10% or more amount of thin content to bronze, such as phosphor bronze, it helps in making strings. Phosphor bronzes of higher tin contents (6 to 12%) are used extensively in bearings and for engineering castings whilst bronze with 20% tin content is used in making bells.

Aluminium Bronze

A copper aluminium alloys (without tin) are used in marine and general engineering work where resistance to corrosion, good strength and hardness are the conditions of service at high temperatures.

Also check: What is forging? and it advantages and Types of forging tools and equipment

Manganese bronze

Special ‘brasses’ of high tensile strength and with good resistance of corrosion contain manganese, tin, iron, and aluminium.

Cupro-nickel alloys

A number of cupro-nickel alloys are in common use and with nickel content of 5%, greatly increased resistance to corrosion is exhibited. With about 15% of nickel or above, alloy has grey-white colour with 25% nickel content, the alloy is used in the present British ‘silver’ coinage. Cupro-nickel alloys are used in condenser tubes where high resistance to salt water corrosion required. Monel metal, with 29% of copper, 68% nickel and small quantities of iron and manganese provides good mechanical properties with very good corrosion resistance and it is used in chemical engineering plant and internal combustion engine components subjected to high temperatures.


Lead is the heaviest of common non-ferrous metals with a specific gravity of 11.3. It is very soft and malleable and is easily cut with hand saw or knife. It has a silvery lustre when first cut but the surface quickly tarnishes in air, forming a protective oxide film. This non-ferrous metals (lead) are resistance to many acids, but oddly enough to be attacked by pure water. Lead has a low melting point (330°C) and is an essential component in a number of alloys, for example, plumber’s and tinman’s are alloyed with tin in varying proportions.


Tin is a white metal showing yellowish tinge. It is very malleable and can be rolled into tinfoil, but its main uses are in tin plating, mainly in the canning industry, and as an alloying element in bearing metals. It is also used in making soft solders. Tin has a very low melting point of about 232°c.


Zinc is a lustrous, bluish-white metal which shows a good resistance to atmospheric corrosion and this property is used to advantage in the galvanising of sheet iron ware, piping, wire, nails and so on, the coating of zinc being given by dipping in a molten zinc bath. In addition to this non-ferrous metals (zincs), they are used in the copper-zinc alloys, they are also used in a range of zinc alloys for die casting. The alloys, containing zinc, copper, and aluminium are used in a wide range of items, including carburetters, washing machine parts, model toys, etc. The zinc concentrate is filtered and is then roasted to form a zinc oxide sinter which is then mixed with anthracite, bituminous coal and clay and pressed to form briquettes.

And that is it for this article, types of nonferrous metals and their uses. I hopefully believed you now have understanding on this category of metal. Freely ask questions via our comment box if you have any and please share this post on your social media. Thank you!

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