How to identify different metal types

AMF Magnetics  

Types of Non Ferrous

(this is not an exhausting list but indicative of whats generally available)


TIP: Use a file to expose fresh metal under crome or corrosion to confirm what colour it is.


Useful Info: Most US and European sites use lb (pound) as a measure of weight, as do most price graphs (see below).  1 lb = 0.45 kg, so for Australian Market, the price is approx double the unit weight price shown in the graphs and is a good indicator of current pricing.






Description: Freshly exposed copper has a pinkish/peachy colour

Common sources:

Plumbing pipes and fittings

Old hot water tanks

Refridgerators and airconditioners

Some Car Radiators

Copper Wire


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 Description: Bright gold like appearance 

Common Sources:

Plumbing fittings

Electrical contacts

Ornaments and decorative fixtures


Refridgerators and airconditioners




Description: Also known as Gun metal or Red Brass – honey coloured (half way between brass and copper) 

Common Sources

Plumbing fittings (stop valve ) (Pressure release valves on hot water systems)

Plaques and statues

Bearings and bushes




Description: Silvery white to dull grey, very light metal

Common Sources:

Window and door frames

Aluminium cans

Pots and pans

Engine parts (ie inlet manifolds / heads etc)

Mag Wheels

Aluminium Wire

Mowers and stationary engines

Sheds and roofing / caravans

The bars in old fridge doors, washing machine lids


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Description: A Dull silvery grey colour, quite Brittle

Common Sources

Bearings and ship propellers


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Description: Bluish-white colour when cut, tarnishes to a dull grey, very heavy

Common Sources

Lead Flashing on roofs

Lead Pipes


Bullets and shot

Radiation shields


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Stainless Steel

Description: Shiney silvery/crome

Common Sources:

Kitchen sinks

Pots and pans


Pipes and plumbing

Nuts and bolts


Mixed Non Ferrous materials


Lead Acid Batteries

Description: Lead Acid Batteries, as per Photos

Common Sources:

Automotive and Marine starter batteries

Battery Charger and UPS devices

Telecom Exchange equipment

Batteries, Battery Chargers and Electronic & Precision Test Equipment at YankeeRoo®



Copper Brass Radiators

Description: Copper core with Brass end tanks

Common Sources:

Automotive cooling Radiators

Heat exchanger units



Copper Aluminium radiators

Description: Typically copper tubes embedded within aluminium fins

Common Sources:

The heat exchangers used in airconditioning and refridgeration equipment



Insulated Copper Wire

High Grade

Description: Insulated wire with Large diameter copper core

Common Sources: 

Heavy cables such as car battery cables and large power cables

Low grade

Description: any insulated wire with small copper core

Common Sources:

Power cords

Computer and stereo / video cables

Patch leads and phone cords

Any type of small size wire.

(NOTE) some insulated wire is actually Aluminium and not copper, usually the heavy cables used by electric companies etc. 

This should be kept separate.


Irony Aluminium

Description: Aluminium with Ferrous bits stuck in it

Common Sources:

Typically things like carburettors and engine heads. Any aluminium with steel bolts or fittings.

Mag wheels usually have an Iron ring where the studs pass through and these should be knocked out of the rim.

Melted aluminium after a fire is classed as irony as well as it has impurities. Often can be picked up from burnt out cars as the engine components and mag wheels often melt.


Electric Motors and transformers

Not strictly Non Ferrous, but have a higher value to the scrap dealers due to the copper content in the windings and should be separated from the steel if you have a number of them


Types of ferrous metal





Description: Fresh Iron is silvery Grey but oxidizes to form a red or brown colour (rust)

Common Sources:

Iron is generally the heavier more brittle substance – like engine blocks and brake drums

Steel is a stronger metal, railway iron, colourbond, car panels and white goods




Description: White silvery shiney metal with a golden tinge – actually a ferrous metal

Common sources:

Cutlery and utensils


Parts of old printers and typewriters etc


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Precious metals

I've dedicated a page just for these special metals.

These metals are special not only because of their value but because of their chemical properties.  These metals termed royal metals, are non magnetic and will not disolve with normal acids like ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Examples are Gold, Silver, Platinum, Titanium, Lithium.



Catalytic Converters

Ive placed Catalytic Converters in the Precious Metals Section as they have intrinsic value due to the content of Platinum in these devices.  Platinum is the main Catalyst in these devices and is also talked about on the precious metals recovery page



Buy or sell your car here (the non scrap variety :-)







"Hard work often leads to success. No work seldom
                                  --Harvey Mackay


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