Custom Recycling Scrap Metal

Scrap Talk Episode 3: Determining Scrap Metal With a Magnet

Sep 30, 2015

Welcome to Episode 3 of Scrap Talk. With Scrap Talk we plan to help educate you on different forms of scrap metal, their usage and their worth, as well as tips and tricks to help maximize the value of the scrap metal you are recycling. Each Wednesday we will bring you a new episode of Scrap Talk so be sure to check back!


Summary of video:

Hey, how you doing? This is Shane Murphy with Custom Recycling with another episode of Scrap Talk.

Today, I’m going to show you how to use a simple magnet to determine what kind of metal you do have. Simple magnet.

As you see down here, we have three samples of metal, which all relatively look exactly the same, besides the shape. You can see here, the shininess. How would you figure out what you have? Well, the simple magnet.

First thing you do is you’re going to take a magnet to all three of these samples. First sample does not stick, and you hold it to the side there, you see it doesn’t draw. So we’re still not sure what this is. Second sample, same thing, no magnetic pull. Third sample, oh. That’s steel. Steel is always magnetic, every single time. Sometimes it’s rusty, but sometimes it’s shiny, too, so this could fool you. You might think you have stainless or aluminum, but you don’t. It’s steel. We’re going to put this one to the side.

So how do we determine which is which here? This could be aluminum, this could be stainless, this could be zinc, this could be magnesium. Now what I’m going to do is show you a simple trick with this simple magnet to determine what we have. I’m going to take the edge of this magnet and try to scratch the metal. What you want to do is, you want to feel if you can feel the ridges. You can’t feel the ridges there. I think I know what this is, but I’m not going to make my mind up yet.

I’m going to take this other sample here and do the same thing. Now I can feel the ridge there. Aluminum is very soft, so when you scratch it, it actually makes a groove in the metal that you can feel. Stainless does not scratch. It might scratch visibly, but it does not gouge. You can’t feel the scratch.

By using this magnet, I’m going to determine that this sample is aluminum because you can feel the gouge, and this is stainless because it’s not magnetic and you can’t feel the gouge.

So once again, not magnetic, not magnetic. Can feel the gouge, can’t feel the gouge. This poor sucker, right here, we just know that it’s steel.

Hopefully this helps you out. And once again, this has been another episode of Scrap Talk.