Different scrap metals are sold for different prices. That is why it is always important to understand what scrap metal you have, and to organize the metal by type. If you donate a large collection of metal that isn't organized, some yards may give you an average price for the unorganized metal versus giving you the full amount you would have received had you organized the metal into separate bins. However, in some cases it is difficult to know what type of metal you are working with. Follow these steps to test your scrap metal.
Ferrous Or Non-Ferrous
The first question you should have about your scrap metal is whether it is ferrous or non-ferrous metal. Generally non-ferrous metals sell for a higher price as they are rarer than ferrous metals. The easiest way to separate ferrous and non-ferrous metals is with a magnet. Ferrous metals (or metals that contain iron) will be magnetic. Aside from this test there are several tests we can do at Second Street Iron & Metal to help identify unknown metals.
A common method for testing metals is the spark test. If your metal is large enough for the spark test you can track what types of sparks are made. Pay attention to color, forks, and length of the sparks created. If the color of your sparks is dark red you are likely working with nickel. If the sparks are yellow, it is likely iron. White sparks are usually titanium. The more forks in the spark pattern the more carbon is present in the metal. Length of sparks will also tell you something about the metal. Alloy steel produces long white sparks that fork at the end. If a metal doesn't spark this could indicate that it is non-ferrous.
Apart from magnets and spark tests, many metals can be identified by sight. Aluminum is generally lightweight, bendable, and silver in color. Copper is usually a brownish color. Different grades of copper are based on how clean the metal is, the presence of solder joints and other elements will devalue the copper.
Free Metal Testing Service
Before you sell your scrap metal, we would be happy to test it for you and help you identify what types of metal you have. Second Street Iron & Metal in Everett is always available to help test metal and purchase scrap metal.