Nonferrous metals are metals or alloys that do not have an appreciable amount of iron in them and they are of different types. These metals are special due to their properties which include malleability, non-magnetic, high conductivity, resistance to corrosion, and low weight.
Even though almost all these types of nonferrous metals are costly than ferrous metals, they serve most industrial purposes such as roofing pipes, electrical and gutters. They are also suitable for highly corrosive environments such as liquid, chemical, and sewage pipelines.
Due to their non-magnetism of these types of metals, they are used in many electrical and electronic appliances. Some nonferrous metals like Aluminum have low weight, Copper has higher conductivity, and Zinc is non-magnetic and is resistant to corrosion.
Types of Nonferrous Metals
The 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.
Aluminum is a type of nonferrous metal obtained from bauxites. It consists of impure aluminum oxide with combined and free water and silver and iron oxide as its impurities. It can be extracted in large quantities using an electrolytic reduction process.
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). These types of nonferrous metals are also used in a cast or wrought form (‘wrought’ means work in some way: for example, forging, rolling, deep-drawing, etc.) And the properties of some of these alloys can be improved by certain heat treatments, whilst in others, the only changes are those resulting from annealing or from work hardening.
Coppers are the most important types of non-ferrous metals used in the world in a pure state, in form of alloys, and as an added element. They are used to influence the properties of other metals such as Good electrical conductivity and its high heat, Its malleability and ductility, The readiness with which they form alloys, and its resistance to the corrosive effects of the atmosphere through the formation of a protective layer of oxides. These types of non-ferrous metals are easily identified with their distinctive, warm red color.
Copper alloys (Brass)
The term brass covers a wide range of copper-zinc alloys with a corresponding range of properties and applications. In these types of nonferrous metals, their copper content exceeds 80% and the alloy is known as “gilding metal”. It is rich, golden color, and it is used in decorating works. The brasses find many applications in engineering, not only because they 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 are types of nonferrous metals that cover a range of copper-tin alloys. However, 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 is widely used in strings making. 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.
Copper aluminum alloys (without tin) are types of nonferrous metals used in marine and general engineering work. They are often used where resistance to corrosion, good strength and hardness are the conditions of service at high temperatures.
Read more: Heat Treatment of nonferrous metals
Special ‘brasses’ of high tensile strength and with good resistance to corrosion contain manganese, tin, iron, and aluminum.
A number of cupro-nickel alloys are classified as types of nonferrous metals commonly used. With a nickel content of 5%, they greatly increased resistance to corrosion. Also, with about 15% of nickel or above, the alloy has grey-white color 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 saltwater 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.
Leads are the heaviest of all types of nonferrous metals with a specific gravity of 11.3. They are very soft and malleable and is easily cut with hand saw or knife. It has a silvery luster when first cut but the surface quickly tarnishes in air, forming a protective oxide film.
These nonferrous metals are resistant 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 tinmen are alloyed with tin in varying proportions.
Read more: Heat treatment of copper and copper alloys
Tin is a white metal showing a 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. Also, 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.
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Zinc is a lustrous, bluish-white metal that shows good resistance to atmospheric corrosion. This property is used to advantage in the galvanizing of sheet ironware, piping, wire, nails, and so on, the coating of zinc being given by dipping in a molten zinc bath. In addition to these types of nonferrous metals, they are used in copper-zinc alloys. They are also used in a range of zinc alloys for die casting.
The alloys, containing zinc, copper, and aluminum 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.
Read more: Process of Heat treating of ferrous metals
Watch the video below to learn about nonferrous metals:
And that is all for this article, where we discussed the various types of nonferrous metals and their uses. I hope you get a lot from this post, if so, kindly share with other students. Thanks for reading, see you next time!