a technical term designating all metals and their alloys other than iron and its alloys, which are called ferrous metals. The Russian term tsevtnye metally (literally “colored metals”) corresponds to the term “nonferrous metals” in English and to similar phrases in many other languages, for example, métaux non-ferrugineux or metaux non-ferreux in French and Nichteisenmetalle in German (also farbige Metalle, literally “colored metals,” and Buntmetalle, literally “multicolored metals”).
A conventional classification of nonferrous metals is commonly used in technology. In this classification the metals are classified according to properties characteristic of a particular group as light metals, nonferrous heavy metals, noble metals (including the platinum metals), refractory metals, dispersed metals, rareearth metals, and radioactive metals. A large group of nonferrous metals is classified as rare metals.
SeeLIGHT METALS; NONFERROUS HEAVY METAL; NOBLE METALS; PLATINUM GROUP METALS; REFRACTORY METAL; DISPERSED ELEMENT; RARE-EARTH ELEMENT; RADIOACTIVE ELEMENT; and RARE METAL. See alsoMETALS and METALLURGY.