April 21, 2024

Newbies to the scrap metal recycling industry often find it difficult to distinguish between different types of scrap metal. You should be able identify the different types of metals so you can sort them properly and make as much money as possible when selling it to a junk yard. You can bring all of your scrap metal in one pile to the scrapyard, but you may get more money by weighing the different metals separately. This guide will help you identify the different types of scrap metals, so you are prepared to begin scrap recycling.

1. Magnets are used to identify scrap metals
When you are trying to sort and identify scrap metals, it is easy to begin by observing how the metal reacts to a magnet. If the magnet attracts the metal, it’s ferrous. It contains iron. The metal that is not attracted by the magnet is non-ferrous and does not contain any iron. This test can be used to separate ferrous metals from non-magnetic ones such as aluminum or brass.

2. Distinctive Colors
Metals can be identified by their distinctive colors. Copper-colored scrap is usually either copper or brass. It is more likely to be red brass if the metal was cast or molded. Copper is hard to cast. Scrap yards will pay a lot for copper scrap. Brass is usually the gold-colored metal. Gold is similar to brass in color, but it has a darker hue. It is more rare to find gold, so your scrap metal may be brass.

It is important to remember that some metals are rusted, or even painted. Therefore, identifying scrap metal solely by color may be misleading. Use a chisel or rust scraper to remove the paint and rust to reveal the metal beneath.

3. Weight
If two metals appear to be very similar, the weight of each one can tell you what type they are. Aluminum is an extremely lightweight metal that is easy to bend. Lead and iron, on the other hand, are heavy metals for their size. You can determine the type of scrap you have by weighing it or feeling its weight.

4. Oxidation
You can learn a lot from the presence or absence of oxidation. Iron scrap metal is often characterized by a red rust. Bronze and copper oxidation has a greenish color. Chromium, stainless steel and other metals will not oxidize. Oxidation is a good indicator of what type of scrap metal it is. You must also consider the condition and age of the metal. Scrap metal that is in good condition or newer will likely not show any signs of oxidation.

5. Hardness
Identification is often done by testing the hardness of a metal. Some metals have a very soft texture, while others are harder. Pure copper, for example, is soft and easily flakes when filed with a mill-file. Steel is harder and more resistant to flaking. A hammer or cold chisel can also be used to test a metal’s hardness. You can tell what type of scrap metal you have by the characteristics of the metal flakes. Cast iron, for example, is likely to have brittle flakes which easily break apart. Steel, aluminum or malleable metal may all be present in continuous flakes.

6. What was it used for?
You can tell what type of metal it is by what it has been used for. Copper, for example, is used a lot in electrical wiring because it conducts electricity well. Because iron is heavy and rusts quickly, it’s not a good choice for exterior construction. Tin is not used in plumbing because it is soft and bendable. Consider what your scrap metal was used for to narrow the options.

7. Professional Metal Testing
You may still not be able to identify the type of scrap you have despite all the tests and tips above. Professional metal tests can be done to identify and separate your scrap metal. These include a chemical test or spark test. These tests are dangerous and should only be performed by professionals.

Scrap Metal Recycling in a Scrap Yard near Me
Don’t worry if you don’t have the time to identify your scrap metal. Scrap yards will gladly accept your unwanted scrap for recycling, whether you’ve already identified and sorted it or have a pile of scrap. Our scrap metal recycling team at Roane Group is an expert at identifying metals. They also use honest weights to ensure you get the best price possible for your scrap metals. We will pay you cash for any type of scrap metal you bring us, even if you cannot identify it. Bring your scrap metal to one of two of our scrap yards in East Tennessee if you need it disposed of.

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