Over the last few decades, the metalworking sector has been endowed with numerous production processes, including turning raw materials into refined finished products. In these processes, ferrous and non-ferrous metal alloys are heat-treated, rolled, extruded and forged. The non-ferrous metal group has a wide range of materials, with properties that make them desirable for use in industries requiring higher conductivity and corrosion resistance.

What are non-ferrous metal castings?

Non-ferrous castings are a very specialized class of this multi-layered industrial practice. To make these castings, metal is heated and melted to allow its crystalline structure to dissolve and liquefy. The metallic alloy that was previously rigid, gets channelled into hollow moulds to give them the desired shape. The unrefined metallic liquid cools and solidifies which is then given a special surface finish.

Characteristics of non-ferrous metals

The most essential property of non-ferrous castings is that they are non-magnetic, making them suitable for use in certain electronic applications. Owing to the base molecular build of non-ferrous metals, the possible susceptibility to corrosion is eliminated.

Iron-free metals also add electrical conductivity which results in superior wiring work and electric contacts. Non-ferrous metals such as aluminium are more valuable and better at corrosion resistance as compared to ferrous metals, allowing an aluminium die casting manufacturer to provide a high-quality service. They can also be distinguished by their malleability properties and are used for an extensive range of commercial applications.

Metal types used for making non-ferrous castings and their properties

Non-ferrous metals are free of iron content and this exclusive clan includes aluminium, copper, bronze, zinc, and magnesium, amongst a few others. Combinations of these metals give rise to new molecular structures that have multiple applications when specialized finishing techniques are applied.

  • Aluminium

Aluminium is highly resistant to corrosion and is mainly obtained from bauxite ore. It is a brilliant conductor of electricity and heat while being a good reflector of light. Aluminium is soft, tough and can be transformed into any shape by stamping, rolling, forging and spinning. It can be cast using one of the casting methods like chill casting, sand casting and aluminium die casting.

  • Copper

Copper is extracted from ores like copper pyrites and has been in industrial and engineering use for over a century. It is corrosion resistant and can form excellent alloys. Being malleable and ductile, copper can be moulded into any shape as well as be joined by welding, brazing, soldering and riveting.

  • Zinc

Zinc can be obtained from ores like calamine and zinc blends and has sphalerite as the chief ore mineral. It is corrosion-resistant, ductile and malleable when heated to a temperature of 100 to 150 degrees C. It can be drawn into wires and rolled into sheets at this temperature.

Non-ferrous metals have been used throughout history from the stone age to 1700 BC for making bronze weapons. Today non-ferrous metals have multiple applications in construction, pipelines, electrical cables, tool making and vehicle engines.