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Malleable Iron vs Ductile Iron – What’s the Difference

Malleable Iron Vs Ductile Iron

Regarding iron casting, there are two commonly used materials – malleable and ductile iron. While these two materials may seem similar, they have distinct differences that make each unique. Understanding the differences between malleable and ductile iron and their respective applications can help you choose the best material for your project. In this blog, we’ll dive into the key differences between malleable iron vs ductile iron and explore their various applications.

Difference Between Malleable Iron and Ductile Iron


Malleable iron is made from white iron castings, which undergo a heat treatment to convert them into a more pliable material. On the other hand, ductile iron, also known as nodular cast iron, is made by adding a small amount of magnesium to the molten iron. This process creates graphite nodules that give ductile iron its unique properties.

Strength and Durability

Ductile iron is stronger and more durable than malleable iron, thanks to its nodular graphite structure. This makes it an ideal choice for applications with critical strength and resistance to wear and tear, such as automotive parts, pipes, and machinery. Malleable iron, which is more malleable than ductile iron, is better suited for applications that require bending or shaping, such as ornamental ironwork and small castings.


Malleable iron is more accessible to machines than ductile iron due to its lower strength and hardness. However, ductile iron can be machined satisfactorily if the cutting tools are correctly chosen and used. Machinists will typically use carbide or cermet-tipped cutting tools as these materials can withstand the high temperatures and pressures associated with machining ductile iron.

Corrosion Resistance

Ductile iron has higher corrosion resistance than malleable iron, making it ideal for applications exposed to harsh environments, such as marine applications, chemical processing, and oil and gas industries. Malleable iron, on the other hand, is more prone to corrosion, making it less suitable for harsh environments.


In terms of cost, malleable iron is generally less expensive than ductile iron due to the different manufacturing processes used. However, ductile iron’s superior performance and durability often justify its higher price tag, especially for critical applications where long-lasting performance is essential.

Other Differences

  • Malleable iron has been treated so that it is soft and can be easily moulded.
  • Ductile iron has been treated so that it is strong and can be quickly drawn into wire.
  • Malleable iron is less brittle than ductile iron and can be welded, while ductile iron is more brittle and cannot be welded.
  • Malleable iron is typically used for pipes and fittings, while ductile iron is generally used for wires and cables.
  • Malleable iron is more expensive than ductile iron, but both types of iron are less costly than steel.


Choosing the suitable iron casting material for your project can be challenging. Understanding the differences between malleable iron and ductile iron can help you make an informed decision and pick the best material for your needs. Whether you need strength, machinability, corrosion resistance, or low cost, malleable and ductile iron each has pros and cons and is suited for different applications. Ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh the other factors and determine which iron-casting material best fits your project.

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