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What’s the Difference Between Non-Ferrous & Ferrous Metal? March 5, 2020

San Marcos, San Marcos, TX
What’s the Difference Between Non-Ferrous & Ferrous Metal?, San Marcos, Texas

If you’re interested in selling scrap metal for cash, you should know that not all metals are the same. Most metal recycling centers ask you to separate your scrap into two basic types—non-ferrous and ferrous.

Non-Ferrous Metal

Non-ferrous metals do not contain any iron. Common types include aluminum, copper, zinc, lead, brass, nickel, and copper. They’re flexible, lightweight, and more resistant to rust than ferrous metals. They’re used to make materials that are regularly exposed to moisture, like gutters, water pipes, or roofing. Road signs are made of aluminum so they don’t rust over time.

They are also non-magnetic, which makes them ideal for use in electronics and wiring applications. When selling scrap metal, non-ferrous metals tend to be more valuable because they are not as common as their ferrous counterparts.

Ferrous Metal

Texas selling scrap metalFerrous metals contain iron. Cast iron, wrought iron, and any type of steel are a few examples of ferrous metals. They are among the most frequently used and recycled in the world.

Because of its strength and durability, ferrous metal is often used in construction to erect massive structures such as buildings and bridges, as well as make sturdy items like auto parts and kitchen appliances. When compared to other materials, ferrous metals are fairly common and, as a result, inexpensive. They are also magnetic and tend to rust easily due to their iron content.

Why Do They Need to Be Separated?

Both types of metal can be recycled and reused without a loss of quality. Because non-ferrous metals tend to be more valuable than ferrous ones, most metal recycling centers like them to be separated when you’re selling scrap metal.

While it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two metals visually, there is a simple trick you can perform to differentiate the two; see how they react to a magnet. Due to their iron content, ferrous metals will be attracted to a magnet, while non-ferrous metals will not.


If you’re interested in selling scrap metal, get in touch with the metal salvage experts at Roadrunner Recycling in San Marcos, TX. With 25 years of industry experience, they make the process easy and offer fair prices for a wide range of metal items. Visit their website to learn more about their recycling services or call (512) 353-4511 to speak with a team member today.

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