The term ferrous is derived from the Latin "Ferrum" which means "containing iron", thus ferrous metals contain iron and non ferrous metals do not
- Click the links below for further reading about the different non-ferrous metals.
Pure alminium and aluminium alloy
Second to iron, aluminium is one of the most widely used metals. Aluminium is a rather new metal and its new applications are expected to continue to be developed in the future.
Aluminium is renowned for it light weight properties. It is also termed as a "light metal". Aluminium has a number of characteristics, high-corrosion resistance, high electrical conductivity, high thermal conductivity, softness and has a low melting point. However, the mechanical properties of aluminium are low and as such it does not have high strength. There are certain aluminium alloys that do posses high tensile strength, an example for one type is duralumin.
Aluminium alloy is quite often used for machine parts. As it is difficult to differentiate between aluminium and aluminium alloy, the term aluminium is most often used.
Copper has been used widely for our everyday usage for a very long time now. The characteristics of copper include high electrical conductivity, high corrosion resistance and easy to plastic work. Due to its high electrical conductivity copper is widely used for electrical applications.
Copper itself is a soft material that has high ductility, thus making it unsuitable for use as machine parts. As for machining of copper, if the part to be machined is an electrode then end milling is often used.
Brass is an alloy that is made by alloying zinc with copper. Both copper and zinc are soft in their pure state, but when they are alloyed together the overall hardness does increase. However alloy brass has relatively low ductility. Brass has a high thermal expansion co-efficient therefore when machining and heat develops problems with machined dimensions may arise.
Molybdenum - Due to its high melting point, it is often used as the supporters used to hold the filaments in electric light bulbs. Molybdenum can also be alloyed into special steels. In doing so, it enhances the heat treatment properties and as such makes the material tougher.
Cobalt alloy - Cobalt alloy is seldom used on its own. Cobalt is often added as an alloying element to heat-resistant alloys, permanent magnets, high-speed steels, cemented carbides. Heat-resistant alloys encompass heat resisting steel and superalloy. As an example components that use hear-resistant alloys are jet engines, turbochargers and turbines.
Titanium alloy - Titanium alloy is an alloy that posses superior corrosion resistance. Titanium alloy has a relatively low specific gravity but it does have high hardness, and high heat resistance properties. However, titanium alloy does have some disadvantages, due to its low thermal conductivity, stickiness, and ease of work hardening it has very poor machinability. Titanium alloy is used for jet engine parts, airplane structures and rockets.