General information about non-ferrous metals
Non-ferrous metals are assigned to the non-ferrous metals (NE) category. These include, for example, lead, zinc, cobalt, copper or tin. They all have in common that they have a pure iron content of less than 50% and thus differ from ferrous metals. Non-ferrous metals can be classified as base heavy metals due to their material properties. An essential characteristic is the coloured appearance, which is due to the already existing colour of the ore or an alloy (e.g. brass - copper alloy).
At Kloeckner Metals Austria you not only get non-ferrous metals such as copper and brass in excellent quality, but also a variety of other materials such as aluminium or stainless steel products.
How is non-ferrous metal produced?
Non-ferrous metal production can be divided into four elementary steps, which differ in detail depending on the material. Pretreatment is the first step in the machining process. This involves, for example, roasting and, if necessary, sintering sulphidic ores (e.g. copper pyrites) in order to start the reduction process, the second step.
Here there are methods such as the flash smelting process, which is used in copper production, or the QLS process for the production of lead.The reduction is followed by refining to increase the purity of the material. Electrolytic refining is used for copper, zinc and lead. In the fourth step, the purified material is finally processed into corresponding semi-finished products.
Advantages of non-ferrous metals?
Several common, positive material properties can be identified for the group of non-ferrous metals:
Non-ferrous metals are generally resistant to corrosion by various acids and other liquids, such as seawater.
The material properties of non-ferrous metals allow a wide range of processing options. These include, for example, welding, sawing or milling.
Under appropriate alloy constellations, non-ferrous metals can be assigned an attractive conductivity in terms of heat and current.
Non-ferrous metals have good alloying properties due to their material properties.
Since the extraction of non-ferrous metals requires a great deal of energy, the high recyclability of the material is to be emphasized.
Where is non-ferrous metal used?
Non-ferrous metals are characterized by a wide range of possible applications:
- Plant and mechanical engineering
- Automobile manufacture
- Maritime industry
- Electronics industry
- Construction sector
- Interior finishing
- Decorative purposes