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Ferrous Metal

Reviewed by Raghvendra GopalCheckmark | Last updated: April 21, 2021

What Does Ferrous Metal Mean?

A ferrous metal is any metal that is primarily composed of iron and has magnetic properties. A ferrous metal is known for its hardness, durability and tensile strength. Some common ferrous metals include:

Ferrous metals are known and used for their strength. The properties that they possess make them perfect to be used in both the industrial and architectural sector for projects like skyscrapers, bridges, railroad projects and vehicles. Due to their magnetic properties, ferrous metals are also widely used in various appliances and engines. Ferrous metals, however, have high carbon content, which generally makes them more likely to rust; stainless steel is an exception due to its chromium content, as is wrought iron, due to the purity of its iron content. Ferrous metals are widely used in almost all industries such as in the manufacturing of shipping containers, industrial piping, automobiles, railroad tracks, ships and many commercial and domestic tools.


Corrosionpedia Explains Ferrous Metal

Ferrous metals are highly vulnerable to corrosion when exposed to moisture or an acidic or corrosive environment due to their high content of carbon molecules. As a result, they tend to be mixed with a lot of different alloying elements in order to get the desired properties. Some examples of alloying elements used include chromium, vanadium, nickel and manganese. These elements can give ferrous steels the material properties that make them widely used in various engineering industries.

The term ferrous comes from the Latin word ferrum, which means "iron-containing metal compound." Ferrous metals are those that contain only small amounts of iron in their composition. Ferrous metals are magnetic and have a high strength and hardness due to the iron content. Their properties, on the other hand, can vary greatly depending on the variety of alloying elements that make them up. Due to their high carbon content, ferrous metals are susceptible to corrosion when exposed to moisture.

Some desirable ferrous metal properties include durability, great tensile strength, magneticity, low resistance to corrosion, silver color, the ability to be recycled and electrical conduction. That said, it is difficult to assign common properties among ferrous metals overall due to the wide variety of alloying elements that are used to change their characteristics. For example, many ferrous metals are considered to be magnetic; however, this is not true for all ferrous metals. Ferrous metals such as cast iron are quite strong, but also brittle. However, low carbon steel, which is also a ferrous metal, is very soft and ductile due to its low amount of carbon as cast iron.

Iron and steel are ferrous alloys of carbon that can contain a variety of other materials, ranging from aluminium to vanadium, depending on the specification. The mechanical properties of these metals are generally the reason for their selection. Yield strength, durability, ductility, weldability, elasticity, shear, and thermal expansion are all characteristics that engineers and designers may be interested in.

Although it may be difficult to place common properties to all ferrous materials, there are some general qualities to them that can be made with some accuracy. Ferrous metals usually have relatively high amounts of strength, especially when compared with other alloys. Ferrous metals tend to be very hard, and in cases where they are not alloyed with many other elements or coated, ferrous metals may also be subject to rust.



Ferrous Metals

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