Non-ferrous metals include aluminum, copper, lead, zinc and tin, as well as precious metals like gold and silver. Their main advantage over ferrous materials is their malleability. They also have no iron content, giving them a higher resistance to rust and corrosion, and making them ideal for gutters, liquid pipes, roofing and outdoor signs. Lastly they are non-magnetic, which is important for many electronic and wiring applications.
Aluminum is lightweight, soft and low strength. Aluminum is easily cast, forged, machined and welded. It’s not suitable for high-temperature environments. Because aluminum is lightweight, it is a good choice for the manufacturing of aircraft and food cans. Aluminum is also used in castings, pistons, railways, cars, and kitchen utensils.
Copper is red in color, highly ductile, malleable and has high conductivity for electricity and heat. Copper is principally used in the electrical industry in the form of wire and other conductors. It’s also used in sheet roofing, cartridge cases, statutes, and bearings. Copper is also used to make brass, an alloy of copper and zinc.
Lead is a soft, heavy, malleable metal with a low melting point and low tensile strength. It can withstand corrosion from moisture and many acids. Lead is widely used in electrical power cables, batteries, building construction and soldering.
Zinc is a medium to low strength metal with a very low melting point. It can be machined easily, but heating may be required to avoid cleavage of crystals. Zinc is most widely used in galvanizing, the process of applying a protective zinc coating to iron or steel to prevent rust.