Steel is the most prevalent metal for fabricating structures of various kinds. People make staircases to mezzanine floors to portal frames and larger structures like sheds and screens, balustrades, handrails, and many more.
Therefore, whenever we talk about fabrication, steel comes to mind first.
However, when fabricating window frames and awnings, sliding doors, privacy screens, balustrade, handrails, and many other items, including airplanes aluminium is the metal of choice.
According to metallurgical nomenclature, steel and aluminium belong to different groups of metal- ferrous and non-ferrous. Metro Steel Fabrication works with both types of metals, but when you make a choice, you must understand how these two groups of metals are different from one another.
It will help to make a well-informed decision about what best suits your need. Steel of all kinds is ferrous metal because it contains iron and non-ferrous metals like aluminium, copper, zinc, etc. do not contain iron.
Understanding the properties of ferrous and non-ferrous metals will help distinguish which metal will be suitable for your use.
Types of ferrous metals
All forms of iron from stainless steel, to wrought iron, contain varying degrees of carbon that impart different properties to steel and makes it suitable for various applications. Ferrous metals are magnetic, strong, sturdy, and exceptionally durable, which gives excellent value for money and finds extensive use across residential and commercial use.
Stainless steel – it is an alloy of iron with nickel, chromium, molybdenum, etc. that makes it corrosion proof and rust-resistant. It is much stronger than iron easy to fabricate due to its ductile quality.
Wrought iron – it does not rust and is exceptionally durable. It contains less carbon than other ferrous metals and forms a slag on the surface during fabrication that imparts corrosion and oxidation-resistant properties. Wrought iron is suitable for making chains, railings, barbed wires, etc.
Cast iron – As the name implies, this variety of iron is easy to cast into moulds and used for making gates, manholes, covers, pans, vices, etc. The metal can be brittle when thin but has strong compression strength but susceptible to corrosion.
Carbon steel – This is the hardest steel rich in carbon content and the metal of choice for making drill bits, cutting tools and blades.
Types of non-ferrous metals
Non-ferrous metals do not contain iron; hence they are non-magnetic and malleable, making it easy to bend and weld to give any shape during fabrication. Non-ferrous metals are softer than ferrous metals.
Aluminium – Aluminium is the most popular non-ferrous metal used for fabrication because of its anti-corrosive properties and lightweight. Aluminium is heal resistant and requires low maintenance as it does not rust, and you can give it any shape, which makes it an excellent choice for residential and commercial use. From care to aircraft and from utensils to handrails and railings, it finds extensive use.
Copper– Copper is widely used for electrical equipment, appliances, and instruments due to its high conductivity and malleability.
Zinc – Zinc coating is popular for preventing rusting of iron by a process called galvanizing.
Both ferrous and non-ferrous metals are suitable for fabrication.