Anyone in the scrap business understands how important it is to know what type of scrap metal lies in that impressive heap. It’s a matter of dollars and cents. Copper, brass, aluminum and stainless steel are valuable. Iron, cast iron and steel, not so much. Don’t get worried. Learn the different tools and tricks to identify different forms of scrap metals in that heap. Here are three useful tests.
1. Magnetic test—Find a magnet, even that one from your refrigerator that reads, “Bless this mess.” Touch the magnet to the piece of scrap metal. If it sticks, the metal is iron or steel. Unless your amount is a thousand pounds or more, these metals are of little interest to recycling/scrap companies.
2. Sight test—Most people are familiar with aluminum because they have handled common beverage cans. It is light and rustproof. Brass or bronze also have a familiar look seen in musical instruments and ornamental pieces. Yellow-colored, it is a copper alloy, so half as valuable as pure copper. You will find copper in electronic devices, cookware and wiring. The pink of pure copper degrades to brown or red through tarnish, then to oxidized green. Think: Statue of Liberty. Lead is extremely heavy. Confirm its identity by carving it with a pocketknife. Stainless steel is cast in a number of varieties, of which #315 is the most valuable.
3. Spark test—This centuries-old trick requires a little work with a bench grinder or similar device. Choose a large piece of scrap metal to avoid melting and touch the grinder to its surface. The resulting sparks tell tales. Nickel gives off dark red ones, titanium, bright white, and iron, long yellow. Watch the sparks for forks and sprigs. The more you see, the higher the metal’s carbon percentage.
If you would like to learn more different tools and tricks to identify different forms of scrap metals, information about recycling or prices per pound, or appliance recycling in Santa Clara, visit this site.