Ferrous vs. Non-Ferrous Metals

Metal Fabrication, Metal Products | January 25, 2022

When it comes to the fabrication of metal products, it is important to understand the unique qualities of the metal materials that are being used to ensure the best results and minimize the risk of damage. While many different types of metal can be used for welding and fabrication, all metals can be distinctly classified into two categories: ferrous and non-ferrous. Understanding the difference between ferrous vs. non-ferrous metals is crucial as each group has distinct characteristics that make it a better choice for certain projects over others. That is why the experts at LWS Manufacturing & Welding have compiled some information to help you understand their differences and the types of metals that fall into each category.

Learn about the most common types of sheet metal.

Ferrous Metals

The term “ferrous” is derived from the Latin word “ferrum” which means iron. This means that all ferrous metals contain a significant amount of iron. Ferrous metals are strong, durable, and magnetic, making them a staple for construction projects around the world. Examples of ferrous metals include but are not limited to:


Steel is constructed by adding carbon to iron, hardening it, and making it more durable. Steel is widely used in various construction and manufacturing applications due to its durability and versatility.

Carbon Steel

Also known as high-carbon steel, this material features a higher carbon content than regular steel and is exceptionally hard. It is commonly used for drill bits, knives, and taps.

Alloy Steel

Alloy steels incorporate elements such as chromium, nickel, and titanium for greater strength and durability without increasing weight.

Cast Iron

Cast iron is an alloy made from iron, carbon, and silicon that is brittle, hard, and resistant to wear.

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron is an alloy with so little carbon content that it is practically pure iron.

Non-Ferrous Metals

As referenced by the name, non-ferrous metals are materials that do not contain iron. Non-ferrous metals are often more malleable and more resistant to rust than ferrous metals due to the lack of iron. These metals are also not magnetic, making them a great choice for wiring and electronics. Examples of non-ferrous metals include but are not limited to:


Lightweight and soft, aluminum is easy to cast, forge, machine, and weld. It is commonly used for various metal products from utensils to pistons.


Copper is red, highly malleable, and has high conductivity for electricity and heat.


An alloy of zinc and copper, brass is yellow and often used for plumbing products.


Zinc is a medium to low-strength metal with a very low melting point that is commonly used in galvanizing.


Tin is soft, malleable, and ductile with low tensile strength. It is often used to coat steel to prevent corrosion and can be combined with copper to produce bronze.

To learn more about our welding service, fabrication solutions, or metal products, get in touch with the team at LWS Manufacturing & Welding. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services.