We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Ferroalloys?

By Dorothy Distefano
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Ferroalloys are various alloys of iron that contain a significant amount of one or more other elements, such as manganese, carbon, or silicon. The term ferro, or ferric, refers to a compound containing or relating to iron. A ferroalloy has iron as the base element — in many cases less than 50% — combined with one or more other reactive elements used during the production of steel. A ferroalloy will physically introduce and carry these elements into molten metal, as steel and cast iron are being produced.

A ferroalloy can use a single reactive element or multiple reactive elements, known as alloy systems, like nickel or cobalt. These alloys were invented experimentally, by identifying different elements to combine with iron and by developing methods to introduce them in a controlled fashion during the production of steel. There are many different types of these alloys available, including ferromanganese, ferrochromium, and ferrosilicon, among others. They are responsible for providing unique qualities in steel and cast iron, and serve a critical function during iron and steel production cycles.

The primary and most common ferroalloys use chromium, manganese, and silicon. Ferrosilicon is used to prevent the loss of carbon from molten steel during production of steel and ferrous alloys. Some ferroalloys have deoxidizing properties, such as silicon. Ferrochromium is used to provide corrosion resistance in stainless steels. Ferromanganese is used to counteract the harmful effects of sulfur during the production of steel and cast iron.

Ferroalloys are primarily associated with the iron and steel industries, which report worldwide annual production in the millions of tons — or megagrams — per year. They are used to produce many of the most advanced materials in use today. These include metal alloys for extremely high temperature service applications, like gas turbines and stainless steels for superior corrosion resistance. Materials used for parts that are exposed to high loads and that transmit mechanical power are also manufactured using them.

Ferroalloys are prepared by combining iron with other elements at very high temperatures in a furnace. They usually have lower melting temperature ranges than pure elements, and can be combined more easily into molten steel — which provides some advantages during production. Different types of furnaces are used to produce ferroalloys, including submerged electric arc furnaces, exothermic or metallothermic reaction furnaces, and electrolytic cells. There are many companies that produce ferroalloys with facilities that can handle and process raw materials; combine the materials in the furnaces; and finish the material for downstream market use.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By hamje32 — On Oct 23, 2011

@Charred - I think the article mentions ferrosilicon as resulting in less carbon being lost during production. Maybe using this material would result in less CO2 emissions in the process.

By Charred — On Oct 22, 2011

@NathanG - That’s good news but the Chinese of course are not the only people producing ferro alloys. I don’t know what the statistics are but I think the material is used quite extensively in various industrial capacities.

Therefore I think it would depend on how these industries were doing, which would affect the demand for the ferro alloys. Perhaps there is a way to modify the quantities of underlying metals in the alloy in such a way that less pollution would be produced in the production process.

I don’t know, but I think market forces would drive production more than anything else.

By NathanG — On Oct 22, 2011

I wonder what impact ferroalloy production has on the environment. I ask because I remember reading once that China had planned to drastically cut its production of ferroalloy facilities.

Apparently it was doing this with an eye towards energy consumption and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. If that is the case, then I laud the Chinese government.

Too often when CO2 emissions are discussed people like to point to China as an example of a country that wouldn’t honor any agreements to reduce CO2 emissions, and would instead focus squarely on profits and production. I hope that is no longer the case.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.