How do you tell Metals apart?


Here at CJ Metals, we deal with many different types of metal every single day and part of our job is to be able to identify all the different types and their variations so that we can recycle the material properly. Metal that’s been processed efficiently and correctly can go on to be used in a variety of different ways to the benefit of many industries.

But how do you tell metals apart? Well, this entry to our website will help you get started. Keep reading and find out the tricks to distinguishing one from the other.

      1. Ferrous of non-ferrous

Ferrous metals have iron in them, this typically makes them magnetic while non-ferrous metals lack iron content, and won’t be magnetic. This means that mild steel (also known as low carbon steel) is ferrous, but copper and aluminium are non-ferrous. A quick way to identify whether a metal is ferrous or not is to use a magnet.

       2. Aluminium

Aluminium is shiny, grey, and has a clear oxide that forms on contact with air, it doesn’t spark and is used in a lot of ways. As previously mentioned, aluminium is non-ferrous.

       3. Bronze

Bronze is an alloy. This means that it is a mix of different metals used to make something completely new; bronze, for example, is usually a mix of copper and tin (although architectural bronze actually has a very small amount of lead in it). If left to oxidize over time it can get a green coloured crust known as Verdigris. It also will vibrate like a bell when hit.

       4. Brass

Brass is also an alloy, but unlike bronze it’s made of a mix of copper and zinc. It’s a yellow-gold colour and is non-ferrous. An easy way to tell the difference between brass and gold is that, like bronze, brass will vibrate like a bell when hit and gold will not.

        5. Gold

As you probably already know, gold is a shiny yellow colour, and is very heavy. It does not have an oxide, but it does have a high electrical conductivity meaning more electricity can pass through it than other metals. Because of this, many electrical cords will have gold plating. And of course, gold is a precious metal used in coins and jewellery

There you have it, now you can tell the difference between certain metals. Soon enough you’ll know enough to join the ranks of CJ Metals. If you’re interested in recycling metals in either Wakefield or Keighley, please consult our contact page.

Types of Metals