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How to distinguish cast iron from steel and other metals

Cast iron is a heavy iron alloy with significant carbon additives (their share can be up to 6.67 percent). It is used to produce machine tools, various equipment, and metal structures. When scrap metal is sold, it is valued inexpensively because it is a black metal. Therefore, you need to understand how to quickly distinguish cast iron from aluminum, steel, iron. Good prices even for this metal here: https://towingandscrapcarremoval.ca/scrap-car-removal-vaughan/.

What metals are often confused

Cast iron products are confused with counterparts of other metals, which visually may look similar. For example, when a person surrenders leftover machine t

ools, old radiator systems, fixtures, fittings, and plumbing components.

More often than not, confusion occurs when comparing steel, iron, or aluminum. Fortunately, it is possible to find the differences even at home. It is enough to understand how they differ. It may be the color, the sound on contact, the characteristics of strength, the presence or absence of magnetic properties. In our article, we will break down the most available methods of testing in detail.

Main characteristics

Initially, let’s get acquainted with the characteristics of this alloy:

Its composition can contain a wide variety of mixtures. The manufacturer can add, sulfur, phosphorus, manganese, silicon, other elements of the periodic table of Mendeleev.
Any such alloy is characterized by a high level of strength. The average value of this parameter will reach 7200 kg/cu. m.
Due to the presence of silicon in its composition, high-carbon iron alloy is difficult to weld.
Melting point is 1150 to 1200 degrees Celsius.
Depending on the composition, some characteristics change. Often you can learn about the features of the product by visual inspection – by the color of its break:

A light gray hue. Such metal will be poorly machinable, as it is characterized by increased hardness.
Gray shade. The color is obtained because of the high content of graphite. It is easy enough to process and is amenable to casting. This type is used to create machine tools and related components.
Some compositions have special names:

Forged. It is obtained by heat treatment of the alloy with a light gray shade of fracture. It is used in the automotive, agricultural industry.
Hollow. Used for the manufacture of friction parts with increased wear resistance.
High-strength. Contains spheroidal graphite. It is used in machine industry and in pipe production.
How to distinguish pig iron from iron
Pure iron is almost impossible to find in nature. It can be obtained only in a laboratory.

You can tell what we are looking at by the following characteristics:

Iron is easily corroded, unlike high-carbon iron alloy.
Iron objects will have a characteristic light silvery glow. The material is more malleable and softer.

Differences between steel and cast iron

To distinguish between steel and cast iron, you need to know a few important nuances:

Steel products weigh less compared to their cast iron counterparts.
Rolled steel is light, while cast iron is practically black.
Cast iron can be broken by a strong blow from a hammer, whereas steel cannot.
Steel is suitable for stamping, while high-carbon iron alloy is usually used only for casting.
You can also make a heating comparison to distinguish cast iron from steel: the former material will take longer to heat up, but cool down more slowly.

How to tell cast iron from steel
Many things are made from steel. They can often duplicate, copy cast iron alternatives.

It is believed that you can tell cast iron apart with a magnet. But this statement is not always true. Depending on the composition, cast iron products may or may not have magnetic properties. Therefore, it is better to approach the test comprehensively – also applying the techniques described above.

How to distinguish aluminum from cast iron
Applying a magnet, you can also find differences from aluminum. This metal is so weakly magnetic that at the household level it is not noticeable. Therefore, if the material shows at least minimal presence of magnetic properties, it is clearly not aluminum.

There are other ways to tell the difference:

Appearance. Aluminum products are smooth, bright, with a shiny surface. In contrast, cast iron is black, rough, and characterized by the presence of porosity.
The same size items will weigh differently. The weight of a cubic meter of aluminum is 2,700 kilograms. A similar volume of cast iron scrap is 7,000 kilograms. The difference is more than 2.5 times.
Physical impact. Aluminum sheet is easy to bend. Dents remain on the surface of such material after impact. Cast iron will not bend, and with a strong blow, it will not deform, but will split.
If you leave a product made of aluminum in the open air, it will quickly become covered by a thin oxide film that does not allow gases to pass through.

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