Square Metal Tubing: Determine If It’s Ferrous or Non-Ferrous

Metals are categorized in many ways, many of which are meant to determine the applications they are most suited for. Among these is by their iron content. Metals that contain iron are classified as ferrous metals, while those that don’t contain iron are classified as non-ferrous. Why is it important to categorize metals this way?



Iron was discovered in 3000 B.C. but it’s only around 1200 B.C. when it became widely used for various applications. It is also during this period when combining iron with other metals became more commonplace. This gave birth to ferrous metals. Non-ferrous metals were discovered much earlier, around 5000 B.C., and it was their discovery that marked the end of the Stone Age.


Roughly 90 percent of all metals produced by foundry around the world are ferrous, and it’s not hard to understand why. Ferrous metals, such as all kinds of steel, are used in the construction of buildings, roads, bridges, and dams among many others. Non-ferrous metals, on the other hand, are often produced and utilized for smaller scale applications, such as the manufacture of electronics and communication devices.

Some of the most popular types of ferrous metals are steel, cast iron, and wrought iron. Steel, which originally consists of iron and a trace amount of carbon, can be combined with other metals, such as chromium, to improve its properties. Oppositely, the best examples of non-ferrous metals are copper, brass, and bronze.

Properties and Applications

Steel is produced by combining iron and carbon. The role of carbon in the mix is to enhance the sturdiness of iron. This doesn’t necessarily gives steel better resistance to corrosion. Its iron content still makes it fully capable of forming rust when exposed to oxygen. To solve this issue, non-ferrous metals are sometimes alloyed with steel. Chromium, for instance, when added to steel, produces stainless steel. Despite the addition of a non-ferrous metal, steel remains tough and hard due to the presence of carbon and the natural properties of iron.

The only drawback of carbonating steel or having too much iron is that the resulting metal becomes less malleable and ductile, two special properties that are very unique to non-ferrous metals. Copper, brass, bronze, and even silver and gold are very easy to form into sheet or wire without breaking. And since they don’t contain iron, they don’t rust when exposed to moisture. Non-ferrous metals are also non-magnetic unlike ferrous metals.

With these differences in properties, you can easily tell why ferrous metals are the most ideal materials for construction, while non-ferrous metals work better when used for making pipes, tubes, electronic components, cutlery, and the like. Although non-ferrous metals can be made tougher and harder like steel, they still wouldn’t be an ideal alternative to the latter because they are low-abundant metals. It would cost tremendous amounts of money to produce enough non-ferrous metals for massive projects like a skyscraper or a long bridge.

When you’re looking for metal supplies to use in your project, it’s essential to determine whether they are ferrous or non-ferrous first. This way you will know if they possess the properties you need to make the project work. If you need round or square metal tubing that doesn’t corrode, then you should look for non-ferrous metals. Suppliers that specialize in copper, brass, and bronze products, such as Rotax Metals, will be able to help you.



Metals, statista.com

Iron: historical information, webelements.com


Why Square Metal Tubing Is Worth the Cost When Used for Your Next Projects

Metal tubes come in different shapes and sizes. The most common type utilized by architectures and designers are the round tubes. Although round metal tubes are a very popular option, square metal tubing also has its share of valuable features that are known to many consumers. The secret is finding the best applications for tubes with this particular shape. Here are some of the advantages of square metal tubing that are worth noting:


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All about Round and Square Metal Tubing for All Your Building Needs

Metal tubes play an important role in the stability of many mechanical systems. They provide efficient structural support and also have aesthetic function when arranged systematically or if they are made from quality metals, such as bronze or brass. They usually come in different materials, lengths, and cross-sectional shapes in order to meet various needs and applications.


They Are Not Pipes

While tubes and pipes have the same structure, they are not the same material. You can distinguish one from the other by the way their cross-sections are measured or determined. A tube’s cross-section is measured by its outside diameter, while a pipe is measured by its inside diameter.

The reason for this is that pipes are used for conveying fluids, which puts stress on its interior surface. Tubes, on the other hand, usually function as a structural element so the stress is expected to be concentrated within their outer layer. And there’s the issue of aesthetics, which isn’t much of a concern with pipes, considering that they will end up being buried underground or concealed within the walls and ceiling.

You may ask, if tubes only have structural functions, why do they have to be made to look like pipes in the first place? Well, that’s where consideration of efficiency comes in. It would be costly to use solid rods of similar diameters on structures. If you reduce they diameter to lessen the cost, the resulting metal would be too small to resist other forces. Plus, because tubes are hollow, they are lighter and easier to work with than solid bars.

Manufacturing Tubes

There are several metalworking techniques that are used for manufacturing tubes. The most efficient of these is extrusion, a process that involves pressing a material into a die to achieve a desired cross section. There are two ways to do it:

Cold-Drawing. Metal is drawn over a mandrel at room temperature. Because no chemical change is involved in the process, the “cold finished” is expected to have increased mechanical properties and uniform dimensional tolerances. Complex profiles, however, may require multi-pass drawing to produce the desired tolerances.

Annealing. To make it easier to extrude certain metals, they are subjected to heat treatment. This may alter the physical and sometimes the chemical properties of the metal but the result is almost the same as that of cold-drawing except the metal’s electrical conductivity is increased.

If you are looking for high-quality tubes for your project, you have to a supplier that has been in the business for many decades. Suppliers like Rotax Metals, which has been catering to various industries since 1947 surely have a huge inventory that you can choose from. Whether you need round or square metal tubing, they’ve got you covered.


About Rotax Metals: Rotax Metals is a premier provider of metal supplies based in Brooklyn. We specialize in all kinds of copper, brass, and bronze supplies. We cater to various industries and professionals, including architectural designers, furniture manufacturers, artisans, and metal fabricators. We also perform metal shearing, water jet cutting, and metal fabrication.



What Is Annealing in Metallurgy?, thebalance.com

How Is Steel Tubing Made?, sciencing.com

Brazing Copper to Copper: Joining Square Metal Tubing Made a Whole Lot Easier

Traditionally, joining one square metal tubing to another is achieved through two means: brazing and soldering. Brazing is the process of joining materials at an elevated temperature of between 1000 to 2300℉. It is a joining technique that, according to the American Welding Society, has been used since ancient times but has continued to play an important role in today’s society. Brazing copper results in higher joint strength for applications such as jewelry, kitchen cutlery, bathroom faucets and high temperature ceramics. The technique also delivers superior fatigue resistance for carrying loads such as pressure, thermal expansion or dead weight in automotive engines, jet aircraft engines and air conditioning systems.

When done right, brazing permanently joins base materials together whether they are dissimilar metals or of different thicknesses and surface areas. To make the process easier, here are some tricks you can apply to your project.


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Various Roles of Square Metal Tubing and Other Metals in Construction

Some of the Important Uses of Square Metal Tubing in Construction Work

Since the industrial revolution, metal has risen to high demand and use in various industries. From shipping to mechanical engineering, and even arts and crafts, there is no denying the value of this material due to of its many impressive properties.

In the construction industry, more specifically, it is almost impossible to imagine modern works without the use of metal. Square metal tubing, round metal tubing, sheets, and more do become an integral component in the structure being built. What is it about metal that makes it so indispensable, though, and what other uses can be expected for it?

Metal Properties

The main thing that makes metal so attractive is the fact it is both strong and malleable at the same time. It’s strong in its solid form, has high tensile strength, and is extremely dense, too. On the other hand, it is very malleable with high melting and boiling points. Under intense heat, metal can be melted, casted, hammered, or even pressed into thin sheets. Another huge come-on for metal is that it proves to be very good conductor of heat and electricity. Read more from this article: http://bit.ly/2HyYfVA

Crucial Factors That Will Affect the Bending Process of Square Metal Tubing


No matter the application, square metal tubing requires proper skill and the right machine to get it to bend at just the right angle. Even with modern innovations such as computer-controlled bending dies as well as refined bending techniques and tools, however, the process still relies on a handful of simple variables. Keeping in mind the following factors will help reduce the amount of distortion you see in the bent sections.


Type of Material


Before feeding the tube to any kind of bending machine, make sure that you know your material very well. What is exactly is it made of? Different metals have their own sets of properties that you have to take into account. For instance, copper tubing is softer and much easier to manipulate. Not to mention, alloys made from various types of metals may also behave differently when you put them in the machine. If possible, order your tubes correctly by giving your supplier a list of specifications. You can better predict the outcome this way.


Thickness and Size


When you bend a square metal tube, you are essentially stretching the outside diameter and compressing its inside diameter. This is what causes the distortion on the surface. If you want there to be less noticeable contortion, you might prefer to work with a heavier wall thickness that allows for a tighter bend radius and more stretchability. Similarly, a smaller tube bent to a larger radius will have less chances of developing distortions. Carefully choosing the dimensions of your materials will solve any bending problem before they even arise.


Bending Technique


With access to a plethora of machinery, fabricators can bend tubing using more than just one technique. It is important to note that your method of bending is one of the vital elements in controlling distortion. Most tubes today are bent using one of these procedures: ram-type bending, roll bending, compression bending and rotary draw bending. Each process requires the use of different tooling that may include bend dies, clamp blocks, follower blocks, mandrels and wiper dies. Considering the amount of work that needs to be done with specialized equipment, it’s best to have a plan.


Using Lubricants


The bending process puts a lot of friction and pressure between the tooling and the material being bent. Without a lubricant, the tube could get tightly lodged in the machine. This will only increase the distortion on the metal’s surface. Applying non petroleum-based synthetic lubricants internally and externally decreases the friction, allowing the material to flow smoothly and efficiently through the equipment. A good rule of thumb to follow is to put more concentrated lubrication on tubing with thick walls and tighter radii.


Using the latest machines and correctly sourced metal tubing, you can create works of art and marvels of architecture. Find reputable suppliers such as Rotax Metals to get started on your project.


About Rotax Metals


Established in 1947, Rotax Metals has be the preferred supplier of high quality copper, brass and bronze products across numerous industries. We have an extensive inventory of competitively priced products, and we offer a range of special services as well. Our knowledgeable and experienced sales team are more than capable of catering to your needs.




Tube and pipe basics: How to achieve the perfect bend, TheFabricator.com

Tips on Bending Tubing With a Pipe Bender, ItStillRuns.com

Top Considerations for Round and Square Metal Tubing Selection


Metal tubes are among the most widely used yet least regarded objects on the planet. You can find them in your home, at the workplace, in the subway, or even in your car. They convey hot water from your heater and cool air from your air conditioner into your home. When you are going up or down the stairs, they keep you from falling off the side. They have a plethora of uses and yet you probably know very little about them, particularly how they are manufactured.


What Metal Tubes Are Usually Made Of


There are many metals that can be used to produce tubes, each of which is chosen for specific industrial applications. The most common of them are the stainless and non-ferrous metals, such as copper, brass, bronze, and aluminum. These metals not only exhibit properties common to non-ferrous metals, such as corrosion resistance and toughness, but they have other highly beneficial characteristics, including superior strength and high thermal and electrical conductivity, which makes them a perfect round or square metal tubing material.


How Their Dimensions Are Decided


Metal tubes come is a range of sizes to suit different applications. Their dimensions include inside diameter, outside diameter, and wall thickness. Manufacturers base their choice of material, design, and production technique on the tube’s purpose and the kinds of fluid that it will be used to transport. Tubes that are meant to convey corrosive fluids are usually made of corrosion-resistant metal and with a thick wall.


Methods of Construction


There are three ways metal tubes are constructed—extrusion, welding, and welding and drawing (W&D). Metal tubes constructed via extrusion often exhibit seamless features, while welded ones have a visible patch on one side as they were originally sheets rolled to form conduits. W&D, on the other hand, are welded and precisely sized by drawing through a die.


Commercially Available Shapes


Most tubes that are made for conveying fluids have circular diameter. This is because such purpose requires even strength distribution in all directions. As the demand for tubing in other industries grew, manufacturers began introducing tubes of other shapes into the market. You can now find oval, rectangular, and square tubing offered by top suppliers like Rotax Metals.


Testing Their Performance


Of course, it is crucial to ensure that metal tubes meet the demands of the industries they will be used for. As such, different tests are conducted to measure each product’s quality and performance. When offered to buyers, commercial metal tubes usually come with certain performance specifications, including pressure rating, maximum vacuum, minimum bend radius, and temperature range so that buyers can find the most suitable tubes for their projects.


Choosing the Best Finish


To improve the durability and corrosion resistance of a metal tube, it is normally polished or covered with a finishing layer. Depending on the tube’s purpose, the manufacturer can galvanize, paint, or plate it either inside or outside. Meanwhile, if the buyer wants a bright finish, the manufacturer can simply polish or pickle the tube’s surface.


With these considerations, it is easier to choose the best metal tubing for your projects. All you have to worry about is the likelihood of choosing poor-quality products. This is where reputable companies like Rotax Metals come in. Having been in the business for over seven decades, they can surely measure up to your expectations.


About Rotax Metals


Rotax Metals is your one-stop shop for high-quality metals. Whether you need copper, brass, or bronze fittings and pipes for your plumbing or customized tubing for your interior design, we’ve got you covered. We serve countless professionals and material suppliers across North America, and for over seven decades we’ve never failed them.




 4 Types of Copper Piping, TheBalance.com

Metal Tubes Information, GlobalSpec.com

Why Your Builder Chose Solid Brass Plumbing Fixtures, Copper.org