Brass nuts in scrap metal

How to sell brass scrap and determine its price

Author:  Cheburator

Today, in almost every production workshop, garage or barn, you can find derelict brass products. Such rubbish can and must be got rid of in a timely manner, because collection and recycling of metals not only support the metallurgical industry of Ukraine, but also reduce the need for new ore mining and improve the environmental situation.

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And besides, you have excellent chances to get a very substantial sum of money for this scrap metal if it is properly prepared for delivery to the reception center.

Brass and its properties

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc at 1 to 2 ratios, in which lead, iron, aluminum, mercury or tin can also be added. As a result, the metal changes its colour and properties. This alloy is much stronger than copper, but not as strong as steel.

Brass alloy is considered one of the most popular in the world, it is called «eternal metal» because of its high resistance to corrosion, and it is practically not wear-prone.

Tin, magnesium and iron provide the alloy with strength and resistance to corrosion in aggressive environments. Due to aluminum, the alloy becomes less volatile and does not lose much weight when heated in air. Nickel protects this alloy from oxidation, lead improves ductility, and silicon gives the metal strength.

The melting temperature of brass is in the range of 880–950 °C and depends on the content of zinc in it: the higher it is, the lower is the melting temperature.

The use of brass

Brass alloys are so versatile that they are used in absolutely all areas of industry - shipbuilding, aircraft and machine building, instrument-making and machine-building industries, in the energy sector, chemical industry, printing and even military affairs.

Brass for hulls and ship parts is used with the addition of tin - this is the alloy that allows the metal to resist the destructive effects of the aquatic environment for a long time. An alloy having a high content of copper is often used to make machine parts, because copper reduces ductility, but increases strength of the product as a whole.

Adding zinc and lead to brass allows to get a wear-resistant and durable material for the manufacture of small parts of watches, bolts, nuts, which can be easily machined.

Brass water shutoff valve
Water valve (Photo:

Brass has a high anticorrosion resistance to water, therefore, it is in a great demand during plumbing works. Pipes, various plumbing accessories and fittings are produced from it.

The high heat capacity of brass is in demand in production of radiators, kettles and samovars. And due to the fact that brass is not attracted by a magnet, it is ideal for production of compass parts.

A beautiful golden hue allows the use of brass in jewelry. A brass alloy containing about 15% zinc and 5% aluminum resembles gold so much that it will be almost impossible for an amateur to distinguish a cheap brass jewelry from a jewelry made of precious metal.

Where you can find brass

Brass is widely used in various areas of our life, therefore, brass scrap can be found in many places.

  • Plumbing and household appliances
    Brass pipes and radiators, tubes of heating systems, couplings, valves and taps of water supply systems, faucets, towel rails, decorative bath legs, refrigeration tubes;
  • In the interior
    Sconces and floor lamps, brackets for lampshades, decorative panels and frames for mirrors, door hinges, latches and handles, brass beds, chairs and racks, railings and stands for enclosing of stairwells;
  • Utensils and containers
    Samovars, kettles, coffee pots, bread bins, candy bowls, trays, basins;
  • Transport
    Propellers and blades for ships; rods, sheets and fittings in shipbuilding and aircraft construction; bushings, bearings and other parts in automotive and tractor industries.
  • Industry
    Spare parts for water and gas supply systems. In the chemical industry, brass alloys with a very high copper content are used. They can be found in radiator and capillary tubes, coils, siphons. Brass is also present in pumps, centrifuges and separators.
  • Instrument making
    Springs for manometers and other devices, compasses, shields for circuitries, metal parts in electric plugs, screws, bolts, nuts and other hardware that is used to assemble various structures and mechanisms.
  • Artistic craft
    Orders, medals and other insignia, tablets on the facades of buildings and monuments. Women's jewellery, buttons, key rings, pendants, items of church utensils. Even in the bodies of the prestigious Zippo lighters you can found brass.
  • Weapon
    The cartridge cases from guns, revolvers, rifles, and artillery rounds.

How to distinguish brass from similar metals

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Although brass and copper at first glance may look similar, but the brass alloy is still more durable and resistant to corrosion.

Brass and copper

In domestic conditions, there are several ways to distinguish brass from copper:

By colour: brass is yellowish, and copper is more red.

By hardness: copper bends easily, whereas a thin brass product breaks quickly.

By sound: if you hit a large copper product with any metal object, you will hear a dull low sound, while the brass object will “sound” sonorously.

With the help of acid: if you drop hydrochloric acid on the surface of the metal, the copper will simply be cleaned, and a white coating will appear on the surface of the brass.

Using a drill: drilling of copper produces a long spiral-shaped chip, whereas in brass the chip will be small and acute-angled.

Brass or Bronze

To distinguish brass from bronze - another copper alloy - is also possible using a powerful burner. If the bronze is heated and bent, it will break, whereas brass will simply become ductile when the temperature rises above 600 °C.

Brass and gold

Brass is very similar to gold in colour, and it is virtually impossible to distinguish them to a nonprofessional. However, there are still several ways: gold has a shiny surface, and brass has a matte one.

If you move a piece of metal on a ceramic surface, gold will leave a golden strip behind it, and brass - dark. There is always a mark of gold content on gold; but there is no any on brass products.

If acid is applied to the metal, gold will not have a chemical reaction with it, whereas first bubbles will appear on the brass, and then it will become colourless.

Prices for purchase of brass scrap

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Brass alloys are quite common and expensive types of non-ferrous metals, so they are purchased at almost all junkyards for a high price.

The cost of purchase of brass scrap is about the same as that of bronze, which is 35% lower than the price of copper. Today, in large reception centres of Kharkiv, for brass scrap, an average of 60 to 66 hryvnias is offered, depending on its quantity and contamination range.

The state of metal and the presence of other impurities in the alloy affect the cost of purchasing of brass scrap. For example, the increased content of aluminum or zinc reduces its cost, and additives in the form of tin, manganese or silicon, on the contrary, make it more expensive.

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So, if you turn to the Cheburator Company in Kharkiv, it will help you to get up to 66000 hryvnias per ton of this metal without any extra problems, and at the same time get clear, understandable answers from experts to all questions on the scrap. Besides, you will resolve issues related to the dismantling and removal of metal waste profitably and promptly.

How to collect and prepare scrap brass for delivery

If you simply collect the brass scrap and take it to a reception point, the revenue will be minimal. However, there are ways by which you can increase the value of sold scrap to 30%.

To do this, you first need to disassemble complex products into smaller components, separate plastic and other non-metallic materials from them, and then sort the metals by type of alloy using a magnet or a chemical analyzer (this device can be rented). If brass scrap is stored in large pieces or sheets, then it is better to cut it into smaller parts.

The metal should be cleaned of dirt and rust. Those who have experience in smelting should melt brass scrap, since this process significantly increases the purity of the metal and will bring larger revenues.