Defining Ferrous Metals and Their Uses in Products

Roane Metals Group crane moving some ferrous scrap metal to another part of their East Tennessee scrap metal recycling facility.

Defining Ferrous Metals and Their Uses in Products

If you have ever considered taking scrap metal to a scrap yard, chances are you have heard of the two major classifications of metals: ferrous and nonferrous. In this article, we will focus on ferrous scrap specifically, what it is used for, current market prices, and what these metals are used to create.

What is Ferrous Scrap, and What Is It Used to Create?

Simply put, ferrous metals contain iron, whereas nonferrous metals do not. However, investigating closer, there is more to ferrous metals than this simple answer.  The most common forms of ferrous metals are iron and steel.

Some common forms of these materials include wrought iron, stainless steel, carbon steel, and cast iron. These metals are used in the manufacturing of old automobiles, bicycles, and machinery. Ferrous metals are frequently used as they have tensile strength and durability; however, they do corrode and rust more often than non-ferrous materials. That’s why your bicycle, if left in the rain, rusted as a kid, as would the underbelly of your truck or car after a long, snowy winter. The largest single source of recycled scrap is used vehicle metals, and ferrous scrap is the most recycled material globally. Ferrous metals are found in most of your tools and hardware and are also used to construct railroads, large-piping, housing, and even large skyscrapers. Ferrous metals are easy to pick out of a pile of metals, as they are magnetic. Ferrous metals often contain trace amounts of other metals or elements.

Ferrous Metal Specifications and Processing

As early as 1920 in the United States, the Department of Commerce set up specifications for scrap ferrous. These regulations assist scrap trading regulations and guarantee that buyers pay what is asked and help sellers accurately describe the material they are selling. These specifications have to do with the condition the metal is in when coming to be recycled, such as an entire car or thin shredded steel pieces. When the metal is brought in for recycling, it is first taken to an area to be sorted. This is to separate any possible non-ferrous metals from being mixed in with the iron and steel. Next, the ferrous material is shredded. Lastly, the ferrous metal is sheared (cut) and bailed for manufacturers to pick up.

What is the Benefit to Recycling Iron and Steel

Reclaimed scrap metal exports are an enormous bulk of exports within the United States and account for 32+ million metric tons exported annually! Though things are shifting within the U.S. trade arena, the countries where most American ferrous scrap is exported are China, Canada, Mexico, Turkey, India, Germany, and South Korea. This large volume of recycled metals has been a positive contribution to balancing trade. Since the turn of the century, the United States has produced well over $235 billion in exports of scrap metals alone. This accounts for economic benefits, which often return to the consumer who is looking to recycle scrap metals.  Researching metal prices online can provide a ballpark estimate, but these prices fluctuate as frequently as the stock market does. Therefore, it is important to call a scrap yard near you in order to check their prices on each material. Recycling scrap metal is a great way to make extra money.

East Tennessee Scrap Metal Recycling with Roane Metals Group

Roane Metals in East Tennessee takes ferrous and non-ferrous items for scrap recycling. If you are unsure if the item is accepted or want to check current prices, reach out and give us a call at 865-354-4282, and we will be happy to assist you or provide you with resources you need to dispose of the item.