Nonferrous Metals and Alloys Information

Copper Aluminum Alloy via iScrapp.comNonferrous metals and alloys are non-iron-based metals or alloys used for a wide range of applications.  There are many different types of nonferrous metals and alloys based on material type. These include precious metals, aluminum, copper, nickel, and zinc.

Precious metals and their alloys are rare metallic elements and alloys such as silver, gold, platinum, palladium, iridium, osmium, rhodium, and ruthenium. They tend to be costly and in high demand due to their special properties including conductivity and resistance to corrosion.

Aluminum and its alloys are lightweight metals with good corrosion resistance, ductility, and strength. Aluminum is renowned for its low density and is the most widely used non-ferrous metal. Relatively pure aluminum is used only when corrosion resistance is more important than strength or hardness. 

Copper is a reddish orange, soft, and malleable (low hardness) metal that is a good conductor of heat and electricity. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.

Bronze is an alloy of copper and (usually) tin that is much harder and more brittle than brass.

Nickel and its alloys are metals with high strength and toughness, excellent corrosion resistance, and superior elevated temperature properties. They are able to withstand an assortment of extreme operating conditions involving environments that are corrosive, high temperature, high stress, and combinations of these factors.

Zinc and its alloys are metals that are used widely in the production of die cast components. Zinc-based alloys are used for casting and wrought applications Pure or unalloyed zinc is used in non-structural applications and to galvanize metals such as iron in order to prevent corrosion. It is also used in batteries and as an alloy with copper to make brass.Molybdenum alloy parts via H.C. Starck

Other nonferrous materials used in their pure form and in alloys include beryllium, cobalt, hafnium, lead, magnesium, molybdenum, tantalum, titanium, tungsten, ziconium.


Selecting metals and metal alloys requires an analysis of the desired specifications. Dimensions to consider include:

  • Outer diameter (OD)
  • Inner diameter (ID)
  • Overall length
  • Overall thickness

Other specifications of importance (based on application) include product shape, tensile strength, yield strength, melting point, conductivity, corrosion resistance, ductility, and malleability. These properties differ based on the material or alloy composition.

Image credits:| H.C. Starck


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