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Last edited 06 Sep 2021
Ferrous metals are generally thought of as alloys because they are essentially iron ore with the addition of various amounts of a wide range of other substances. These combinations produce a variety of materials with different properties that can be used for a range of purposes.
The combination of iron ore with carbon produces substances referred to as non-alloy steels. In addition to wrought iron, these non-alloy steels include cast iron and low (or mild), medium and high carbon (or tensile) steel. Non-alloy steels generally have good thermal and electrical conductivity.
|Non-alloy steels||Characteristics||Common applications|
|Cast iron||Brittle (if thin); castable (in a mould); good compression strength; poor corrosion resistance.||
|Low-carbon (or mild) steel||Tough; easy to form, braze and weld; poor corrosion resistance.||Nuts, bolts, screws.|
|High-carbon steel||Hard but brittle; harder to work with than mild steel.||Taps and tools.|
- Good tensile strength
- Good electrical conductivity
- Low corrosion resistance
- Silver in colour
- Usually magnetic.
 Advantages and disadvantages
Some of the shared characteristics of ferrous metals produce distinct advantages and disadvantages:
- Can be made less susceptible to corrosion through the addition of other elements or procedures.
- Generally considered to be inexpensive.
- Inherently strong (with the ability to be made even stronger through various processes).
- Relatively high temperature and endurance limitations.
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