Ferrous and non-ferrous metals, defined...
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
One method of classifying metals is into the two groups, ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals. The term ferrous is derived from the latin "Ferrum" meaning "containing iron", thus ferrous metals contain iron and non-ferrous metals do not.
Ferrous metals may be essentially pure iron, like wrought iron, or they may be alloys of iron and other elements. Steel, for example, is an alloy of iron and carbon.
While ferrous metals are often magnetic, this property does not mean that a metal is ferrous. For example, austenitic stainless steel, a ferrous metal, is non-magnetic, while cobalt is magnetic but non-ferrous . Still, since ferrous metals are the most common magnetic materials, magnets are commonly used to separate them from non-ferrous metals and other materials, such as municipal solid waste.
Common ferrous metals include the various irons and steels. Common non-ferrous metals include aluminium, tin, copper, zinc and brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc. The precious metals silver, gold and platinum are also non-ferrous .