Identifying Various Types of Scrap Metal

Feb 14, 2022 Business Success

People who are truly unfamiliar with scrap metal processing have a hard time distinguishing between the various scrap metals. It’s beneficial to be able to distinguish between various kinds of scrap metal because you can correctly sort it and send it to a junk yard for the maximum money.

While you still can take all of your scrap materials to the junk yard in a single pile, certain sorts of metals are sometimes worth more money when weighed individually. Here’s a guide to help you identify various scrap metals so that you can begin scrap recycling right away.

Using Magnets to Detect Scrap Metals

When you really need to detect and classify scrap metals, one of the simplest starting points is to check how it reacts to a standard magnet. When a metal is drawn to a magnet, it is said to be ferrous, meaning it has iron.

If the magnet has no effect on the element, it is non-ferrous and therefore does not include iron. This test is excellent for distinguishing ferrous scrap material from non-magnetic metals like brass and aluminium. Make your workplace safer with scrap metal bins for your Melbourne business.

Colours That Stand Out

Many metals have distinct colours that can aid in determining the metal’s identification simply by glancing at it. Red brass or copper are the most common metals found in copper-coloured scrap materials. Since copper is hard to cast, if the metal has indeed been moulded or casted, it is most probably red brass.

At a junk yard, you could get a great deal of money for your copper scrap materials. Brass is commonly the colour of gold-coloured materials. The colour of gold is comparable to that of brass; however, it is deeper and less yellow. Because gold is also scarcer, your gold-coloured scrap material is most likely brass.

It’s also crucial to remember that some materials are rusted or coated, so relying purely on colour to distinguish scrap materials might be misleading. You can scrape the corrosion or paint off with a chisel to get a proper look at the metal underlying.


When 2 metals appear to be quite similar, their weight might assist you determine which metals they represent. Aluminium, for instance, is a light metal that bends easily. Iron and lead, on the other hand, are really quite weighty for their size. Before going to a junk yard, feel the heaviness of a chunk of scrap metals or weigh it with a scale to establish what kind of scrap metal you have.


The presence or absence of corrosion can reveal a lot regarding the chemical components of scrap metal. The rusting on ferrous scrap metal is usually a distinct red colour. The hue of corrosion on copper and bronze¬†is greenish. There will be no corrosion on stainless steel and chromium. Corrosion can help you figure out what kind of scrap metal you’re dealing with. Nevertheless, you should also consider the metal’s ages and quality. If the scrap materials¬†are recent or it has been kept in good condition, there will be no corrosion on it to provide you a clue as to its identification.