Copper Or Brass? 3 Tips To Tell The Two Apart

Posted on: 13 December 2022

Scrap yards play an important role in recycling metal materials. Collecting old metal components can be a great way for you to generate additional cash since a scrap yard typically pays for most reusable metal items.

Copper and brass are two types of metal that you will likely come across while collecting scrap. It's important that you are able to separate these two metals from one another if you want to maximize your profit.

Here are three simple tips to help you differentiate between copper and brass when sorting your scrap metal in the future.

1. Check the Color

The color of a metal item can help you identify whether it is copper or brass. Copper tends to have a reddish-brown finish, while brass appears to have a more yellow tint.

Where some people run into trouble separating copper and brass is when dealing with older metal. Brass that has corroded can take on a reddish hue due to the loss of zinc that occurs during corrosion.

It can be easy to mistake older brass for copper because of this color change. Try looking at areas where corrosion hasn't affected the metal object to better determine its base metal composition.

2. Try Bending the Metal

Copper and brass differ significantly when it comes to overall strength. This means that you can use a strength test to help you determine which pieces of scrap metal are copper and which are brass.

Copper is the more malleable of the two metals. If you apply force to copper, it will bend and not break. Applying the same amount of force to brass will not cause the metal to bend. When exposed to enough force, brass will simply break.

3. Listen to the Metal

You may be surprised to hear that your ears can actually be a valuable tool when it comes to separating copper from brass. The sound that these metals make differs significantly, which means you can listen to your metal to determine which pieces are copper and which are brass.

If you strike an item made from copper, you will hear a deep, low sound reverberating back from the metal. Striking brass results in a higher pitched sound.

The more familiar you become with the tones produced by both brass and copper, the easier it will be for you to tell the difference between the two simply by using a listening ear.

For more tips, reach out to a local scrap yard.