Scrap Metal

How To Identify Different Kinds of Scrap Metal

Do you have some leftover scrap metal from your remodeling project? Or do you wish to venture into the metal recycling business? Either way, knowing the different kinds of scrap metal is crucial.

While you have the option of selling your scrap metals as a pile in a scrap yard, sorting them out properly can help you fetch a higher price. But how do you do that? Well, that’s why we are here.

Below, we’ve provided you with a list of ways to identify different scrap metals and separate them.

1. Magnetization

Did you play with magnets when you were young? Well, it’s time to put that knowledge to work. All you have to do is find a medium-sized magnet and pass it over the scraps to see which ones will get attracted to it. Scraps that will get attracted fall under ferrous metals since they contain iron. The non-magnetic metals fall into the non-ferrous category and often include brass, Aluminum, copper, zinc, etc.

2. Color Test

 Another way to identify the kind of scrap metals you have is by looking at their colors. Most common scrap metals come in distinctive colors. For example, copper will have a copper, red-brass, pink or brown hue. Pure copper fetches a higher price than brass and other metals.

But if you’re dealing with molded or cast metal, chances are you’re dealing with red-brass because casting copper is challenging. Brass usually has a yellowish or golden color and is 50 percent the value of copper. Gold has a shiny yellow color, so don’t confuse it with brass.

3. Weight

Scrap metals usually have varying weights. So, if you’re dealing with two indistinguishable metals, weighing them can help you figure out which is which. For example, Aluminum and tin have a similar appearance, but you can differentiate them based on their weight. Tin weighs more than Aluminum. The same applies to lead and iron.

4. Oxidation

Oxygen affects various scrap metals in different ways. When exposed to oxygen, iron forms red rust. Copper and bronze develop a greenish hue. Stainless steel and chromium are not susceptible to oxidation. While oxygen can help you identify a metal, remember age can affect how metals look. Well stored metals not exposed to oxygen might retain their original color.

5. Scrap Metal Use

You can identify a metal by its use. Copper is an excellent conductor of electricity and usually comes in wire form. Brass or bronze are often found in musical instruments like pipe valves and trombones. Aluminum is lightweight and highly malleable. It is often used to make cans for soda and beer. Aluminum use also extends to other products and materials.

If you don’t know what scrap metal you’re dealing with, knowing what it was used for can help you narrow down your choice.

6. Professional Testing

If all the above methods fail, seek professional scrap testing. Scrap metal testing companies use various equipment and conduct spark and chemical tests to identify different metals and separate them.

Final Thoughts

Identifying scrap metals should not be a headache. Use the methods above to identify and sort out your metals into different categories. As a result, you can enjoy higher prices for each category of metals. Also, you get to save manufacturers money while creating a cleaner environment for everyone.