Non ferrous metals are metals that don’t contain iron. They are usually also more resistant to corrosion than ferrous metals and are not magnetic.
Non ferrous metals are usually in place of ferrous metals because of their tendency not to corrode so easily. Non ferrous metals can also rust but it is then called patina and the damage to the metal are not so big as with ferrous metals. Non ferrous metal cannot rust as it contains no iron.
The reason that non ferrous materials are non-magnetic is because of the structure of their atoms. Unlike with iron, these electrons are spaced evenly and no magnetic field is formed. This is the same reason wood is not magnetic, even though wood it is not a metal.
Non ferrous metals like lead and zinc are commonly used in paints to protect ferrous metals from corrosion, like on roofs and palisades. Non ferrous metals like aluminium is also used as body parts for vehicles, aircraft and boats where corrosion needs to be prevented.
Gold, silver and platinum is also classified as non ferrous metals and interesting to remember that most rare and exotic metals such as tungsten, lithium, vanadium and zirconium are also examples of non ferrous metals.
Non ferrous metals are almost all recycled and re-used. Some companies re-melt the metals and recast them into new products. It is an important cycle as the non ferrous material doesn’t corrode and disappear back into the environment and can cause serious pollution. Some non ferrous metals are also very valuable for instance copper, which is used in cables, and is under constant threat from thieves trying to make money.
Non ferrous metals were the first metals used by humans for metallurgy purposes. Gold, silver and copper was used to make statues and other decorative items dedicated to royalty. Non ferrous metals replaced resources such as wood and stone because of their ability to easily be shaped into various forms. The use of non ferrous metals has proven their worth across the ages even having a few a periods named after them, the Copper Age and the Bronze Age.