What is a ferrous metal? - A Complete Guide - Engineering Choice (2023)

What is a ferrous metal?

The term ferro comes from the Latin word ferrum, which means "ferrous metallic compound". Ferrous metals are those that contain only small amounts of iron in their composition. Ferrous metals are magnetic and have high strength and hardness due to their iron content.

Ferrous metal is any metal that is composed primarily of iron and has magnetic properties. Ferrous metal is known for its hardness, durability, and tensile strength. Some common ferrous metals include alloy steel, carbon steel, cast iron, and wrought iron. Ferrous metals are well known and used for their durability.

Ferrous metals are very susceptible to corrosion when exposed to moisture or an acidic or corrosive environment due to their high carbon molecule content. As such, they are usually mixed with many different alloying elements to obtain 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.

Some desirable properties of ferrous metals include durability, high tensile strength, magnetism, low corrosion resistance, silver color, recyclability, and electrical conductivity. However, it is difficult to assign general properties to ferrous metals due to the variety of alloying elements used to modify their properties.

The properties they possess make them perfect for use in both industrial and architectural fields for projects such as skyscrapers, bridges, railway projects and vehicles. Due to their magnetic properties, ferrous metals are also widely used in various devices and motors.

However, ferrous metals have a high carbon content, which generally makes them more susceptible 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 the manufacture of shipping containers, industrial pipes, automobiles, railways, ships, and many commercial and household tools.

what is iron

In chemistry, the adjective ferrous designates a compound containing ferrous iron, i.e. iron in the +2 oxidation state, possibly as the divalent cation Fe2+. In contrast to "iron" or iron(III), i.e. iron in the oxidation state +3, it is a trivalent cation Fe3+.

This usage has been largely superseded by IUPAC nomenclature, which requires the oxidation state to be indicated with bracketed Roman numerals, e.g. B. ferrous oxide for iron oxide (FeO), ferric oxide for rust iron (Fe2O3), and ferrous oxide for the Fe3O4 oxide containing both forms of iron.

Outside of chemistry, "ferrous" generally means "ferrous." The word derives from the Latin word ferrum ("iron"). Ferrous metals include steel and pig iron (with a few percent carbon content) and alloys of iron with other metals (e.g. stainless steel). "Nonferrous" is used to describe metals and alloys that do not contain an appreciable amount of iron.

The term "iron" generally refers only to metals and alloys. Instead, the adjective ferruginous is used to refer to nonmetallic substances that contain iron, such as "ferrous water"; or to an orange-brown color resembling rust.

Properties of Ferrous Metals

Ferrous metals share some basic properties such as B. that they are susceptible to rusting and magnetic. The list of common properties of ferrous metals includes:

  • Continuous
  • Good tensile strength
  • good electrical conductivity
  • Low corrosion resistance
  • silver color
  • Recyclable
  • usually magnetic

Ferrous metals can contain a wide range of different alloying elements including chromium, nickel, manganese, molybdenum and vanadium, manganese. These alloying elements give ferrous materials different properties that allow them to be used in a wide variety of engineering and other applications, including tools, pipes, containers, cutlery, and larger structures such as skyscrapers.

What is a ferrous metal? - A Complete Guide - Engineering Choice (1)

List of ferrous metals

Some common ferrous metals are alloy steel, carbon steel, cast iron and wrought iron, let's discuss each one individually.

1. Stahl

Steel is made by adding iron to carbon, making the iron harder. Alloy steel becomes even stronger when other elements such as chromium and nickel are introduced. Steel is made by heating and smelting iron ore in furnaces. The steel can is removed from the furnaces and poured into molds to form steel bars. Steel is widely used in the construction and manufacturing industries.

2. Carbon steel

Carbon steel has a higher carbon content compared to other types of steel, making it exceptionally hard. It is widely used in the manufacture of machine tools, drills, blades, taps and springs. It can hold a sharp edge.

3. Alloy steel

Alloy steels contain elements such as chromium, nickel and titanium to add greater strength and durability without adding weight. Stainless steel is an important steel alloy made of chromium. Alloy steels are used in construction, machine tools and electrical components.

4. Cast Iron

Cast iron is an alloy of iron, carbon and silicon. Cast iron is brittle, hard and wear-resistant. It is used in water pipes, machine tools, car engines and furnaces.

Cast iron is formed when a carbon content of 1.5-4% is alloyed with iron. Other elements including silicon, manganese, sulfur and phosphorus are present but only in trace amounts. Cast iron is brittle but has good wear resistance due to its hardness. It is also easy to cast, relatively inexpensive, has high compressive strength and a low melting point.

5. Wrought Iron

Wrought iron is an alloy so low in carbon that it is almost pure iron. Some slag is added during the manufacturing process, which gives the wrought iron excellent corrosion and oxidation resistance, but has low hardness and fatigue resistance. Wrought iron is used for fences and railings, agricultural implements, nails, barbed wire, chains and various ornaments.

Examples and uses of each

Due to the different properties of ferrous materials, they have a wide variety of applications, which differ depending on the metal used:

unalloyed steels

Unalloyed steels, also called carbon steels, use carbon as an alloying element. These steels contain other elements such as manganese, silicon, sulfur and phosphorus, but the levels of these elements are so small that they do not affect the properties of the material.

Plain steels are classified as low, medium or high carbon steels and each has different properties and treatment methods:

1. Low carbon steel

Low carbon steels, also called mild steels, contain only 0.05 to 0.25% carbon. Inexpensive and malleable, these steels are often used for items such as nuts and bolts or forgings. The surface hardness of these steels can be increased by case hardening.

2. Medium carbon steel

Medium carbon steels contain 0.25-0.6% carbon. This higher carbon content provides an increase in strength and toughness compared to low carbon steels. However, these steels have reduced ductility compared to low carbon steels.

The elevated levels of carbon and manganese in medium carbon steels mean they can be quenched and tempered. These steels are commonly used to manufacture components for the automotive industry such as gears, shafts and shafts, but are also suitable for use in railway applications.

3. High carbon steel

High carbon steels contain between 0.6 and 1% carbon and are the strongest mild steels. This strength makes them ideal for applications that require resistance to mechanical wear while maintaining their shape well.

On the other hand, these steels are inferior to low-carbon steels in terms of weldability, ductility and impact strength. Carbon steel is used for springs, sheet metal, rail steel, wire rope, wear-resistant plates, tools and more.

Alloyed steels and alloying elements

Alloy steels represent another subgroup of ferrous metals, and each alloying element has its own effect on the material's properties. These alloying elements include chromium, copper, nickel, silicon and titanium, but they can be combined to provide a variety of properties. These are the properties of the most common of these alloying elements:

1. Chrom

Chromium is used to make stainless steel with a chromium content in excess of 11%, making the metals resistant to corrosion. A layer of oxidized chromium over the metal prevents the underlying metal from coming into contact with oxygen, greatly reducing the risk of corrosion. Chromium also increases a metal's hardness, tensile strength, toughness, and wear resistance.

2. Mangan

Manganese can be used as an alloying element to prevent the formation of iron sulfides, in addition to increasing high temperature resistance, improving ductility and wear resistance. Manganese can also improve hardenability through quenching, which reduces the risk of defect formation and makes the metal more stable.

3. Nickel

When used with other elements, nickel can increase ductility and corrosion resistance. For example, a mixture of 18% chromium and 8% nickel creates extremely durable stainless steel.

4. Silicon

Silicon can be used to enhance the metal's magnetic properties as well as improve strength and provide elasticity for applications such as springs.

5. Titan

Titanium can be used to improve a metal's strength and corrosion resistance, as well as to limit austenite grain size.

6. Vanadium

Vanadium carbides also limit the grain size of a metal and increase the ductility of the alloyed material. Vanadium also improves strength, hardness, wear and impact resistance. Used in excessive amounts, however, it can have a negative effect on the material properties.

7. Molybdenum

Molybdenum offers a good effect on steel alloys that operate at high temperatures. It not only improves the mechanical properties, but also offers increased resistance to oxidation and corrosion and enhances the effect of other alloying elements.

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