We Recycle: Aluminum - Appliances - Brass - Copper - Electronics - Steel - Wiring - And More!

Tools of the Trade: The Magnet!

The Magnet

If you’re serious about scrap, you should consider some serious tools. However, not every tool costs an arm and a leg! One of your absolute must-haves when it comes to scrapping and recycling? A strong magnet! While seasoned and experience scrappers can identify much of the scrap we buy from sight and feel alone, even they get a ton of mileage out of our strong magnets. 

Magnets react to ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals differently. What makes most metals ferrous is their iron content – as iron is highly magnetic. A simple sweep of a magnet over the metal will indicate whether or not it is ferrous.Almost any type of magnet will work, but you’ll want it to be fairly strong to be effective.

Once you’ve got your magnet, the following, simple to perform test will tell you what kind of material you’re dealing with.

  1. Find a metal sample
  2. Place the magnet against the metal
  3. Pull it away from the metal
  4. If the magnet sticks to the metal it is ferrous alloy, if it does not stick to the metal then it is non-ferrous alloy

Ferrous Metals (Attract a Magnet)

Metals that stick to a magnet that you should know… because we buy them!

  • Iron / Ferrous
  • Steel / Ferrous
  • 4xx Series Stainless Steel
  • Scrap Carbide (made of tungsten carbide in cobalt)

Non-Ferrous Metals (Do Not Attract a Magnet)

Non-ferrous metals are generally non-magnetic (except for nickel and cobalt). It is worth learning to identify these metals as they are often worth more than ferrous metals. Here are the non-ferrous metals that we buy at Smith Iron & Metal:

  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Pot metal
  • Platinum (found in Scrap Catalytic Converters)

So get out there, get a magnet, start testing, and come on down to Smith Iron & Metal to Get Weighed and Get Paid! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us online, on Facebook or call us at (804) 271-1239!

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