How to Tell the Difference Between Steel and Aluminum Scrap

Selling metal scrap can be a profitable endeavor for anyone willing to put forth the time and effort involved in this growing industry.However, there may be some issues when it comes to the identification of certain metals.Copper and bronze are fairly easy to tell apart, but other valuable recyclable metals such as aluminum and steel are not quite so simple to differentiate.Considering the large difference in sale price of these two types of scrap, knowing how to tell them apart is crucial to any buyer or seller who seeks to make a profit from recycling scrap.Here are a few ways to tell the difference:

While both metals are a similar color, they display different tints. Aluminum is a very light-colored metal and appears almost completely white when it is in the light.Steel, while still silver-like in color, is darker and duller than aluminum in general.However, steel can oftentimes be covered with a plating of different types of metal.Therefore it is unwise to determine this difference off of color differences alone.

Aluminum is exceptionally light and easy to lift, which is why it is so commonly used in everyday items which must be light.Steel is used in more heavy-duty appliances, and weighs much more than aluminum.

While many metals are magnetic, not all of them are. Steel and aluminum are a perfect example of this difference. When checking to see which kind of scrap you’ve been presented with, use a refrigerator magnet on the metal in question. If it sticks, it’s steel.If it does not, you most likely have aluminum on your hands.

All metals have a reaction to their atmosphere over time.The differences in these types of reactions can help to tell metal scraps apart from one another.Steel is a metal which develops rust over years of exposure to the elements, while aluminum simply oxidizes, losing much of its luster and becoming a dull sort of milky color.

Though this test is not the most common, the difference between aluminum and steel can also be recognized through the presence of sparks when each of the metals are submitted to a mechanical grinder.Steel sends off sparks while aluminum does not.This test is most commonly performed by mechanical specialists.

There are several methods with which to identify steel or aluminum, and all of them have their own benefits. Trying several different tests can help ensure anyone that they are buying or selling the correct product. Visit this website for more information on steel recycling in Santa Clara.


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