Examples of ferrous metals include carbon steel, mild steel, stainless steel, cast iron and wrought iron. Any metal that has iron as the main metal in its composition is considered to be ferrous.
Most metals today are made up of several different elements. The two main types of metals include ferrous and nonferrous, depending on whether iron is the main metal in the composition.
Mild steel has up to 0.3 percent carbon, and the rest is iron. It is often used for engineering purposes.
Carbon steel has up to 1.4 percent carbon with 98.6 to 99.4 percent iron. This type of steel is used in drill bits and cutting tools.
Stainless steel has nickel and chromium in it as well as iron. It is called stainless steel because this combination is particularly resistant to staining and degradation from rust and other wear. It is used in buildings as well as in knives and other tools and instruments.
Cast iron has up to 4 percent carbon, 3 percent silicon and 94 percent iron. It is known for being particularly strong, so it is used in crushing machinery, brake drums, cylinder blocks and plumbing materials.
Wrought iron has a small carbon content of just 0.1 percent or so. Wrought iron is both strong and malleable, so it is often used for railings and nails, though it is gradually being replaced in this capacity by mild steel.