Copper scrap

How to hand over copper scrap

Author:  Cheburator

If you have some unnecessary metal that lies around, cables or outdated household appliances - refrigerators or televisions, you shouldn’t throw this household to the garbage or to store it aimlessly somewhere. It will be much more profitable to disassemble the accumulated unwanted products and waste made from metal into parts, sort them by type and hand over the received ferrous and non-ferrous metals to a scrap yard, in order to turn useless trash into real money.

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In this article, you will find answers to questions concerning copper scrap and its popular alloys - bronze and brass. We will review, in which products you can find these metals, how to distinguish them from others, and how to hand them over into scrap metal center most advantageous.

Copper and its properties

Copper is a heavy metal of a golden-red colour, the main useful property of which is high electrical and thermal conductivity. The electrical conductivity of copper is 1.7 times higher than that of aluminum, and 6 times higher than iron.

In its pure form, it is a very soft, ductile metal. To impart hardness to copper, it is necessary to add impurities of other metals to the alloy.

This metal is not attracted to the magnet at all, it is able to withstand high temperatures (copper melts at 1083 °C) and is highly resistant to corrosion.

At high humidity, copper is covered with a greenish flush, but when compared with iron, it oxidizes much faster. By the way, copper is easily dissolved in strong oxidizing agents (nitric or sulfuric acid).

Pure copper is perfectly workable; you can easily make a wire from it or roll it into the thinnest sheet.

Use of copper

According to historical data, people first started using copper about 9,000 years ago. Ancient craftsmen made jewelry and expensive dishes out of it. Now this metal is used everywhere - in terms of production and consumption, it ranks third after steel and aluminum.

We regularly contact with copper and its alloys - bronze and brass – at home and everyday life. Electricity in the apartments runs on copper wires; coins, which we pay in stores, are made of copper alloys; interior items and utensils in many houses are also made with addition of this metal.

Copper and its alloys are not prone to fire, like aluminum, so they are actively used in the electrical industry, electronics and appliance manufacturing.

Products made from copper are very popular. For example, a copper roof without painting and special care can be used more than a hundred years. Copper pipes for plumbing have already appeared in some houses, and plumbing elements that made using copper can be found in virtually every apartment.

In engineering, copper is also an indispensable material. Copper wires are present in the electrical system of cars, in the engine starters and modern window regulators.

Jewelers rarely do without copper, too - it is added to gold to make jewellery more durable and to increase the resistance of precious metals to deformation.

Due to its high resistance to corrosion, copper is used to make capsules in which radioactive waste is buried. Corrosion can completely destroy such a capsule only in 500-700 thousand years!

Where you can find copper for scrappage

Copper is considered to be one of the most expensive metals. If you sell it to scrap center, you may make a substantial sum of money. There are many places where you can find waste copper and its alloys - bronze and brass.

  • Household appliances
    As a rule, the older is device, the higher is the copper content in it. Washing machines, old refrigerators, hair dryers and microwaves contain copper coils and wires. When disassembling old tube TVs, you can find in their transformers and wires up to 1.5 kilograms of copper, but in new ones - no more than 0.5 kg. Compressors of old refrigerators contain about 3 kilograms of this valuable metal. There are valuable copper pipes in the broken air conditioners and boilers. Non-ferrous metals are also present in the windings of washing machines, radios, electric stoves, cooling coils, air conditioning and heating systems, computer coolers.
  • Electricity
    At the broken transformer stations, with any luck, you can get hundreds of kilograms of copper. Old electric motors also abound in copper wiring. Copper can be detected in cables, wires of generators and transformers, electric motors, electrical wiring, electrical networks, installation networks, radio components, measuring and computing equipment. Unfit fluorescent lamps contain copper fittings weighing up to 200-300 grams.
  • Old industrial products and equipment
    Decommissioned units and equipment, machines, which have transformers with copper winding, old printing matrices, starters and relays containing copper.
  • Construction
    Sewerage parts, water drains, lightning rods, door handles; locking hardware - fasteners, hooks, hinges, awnings and door hardware
  • Transport
    Components and parts of machines and mechanisms of vehicles.
  • Aviation and shipbuilding scrap
    Parts of on-board computers, hull plating.
  • Household items
    Coins, kitchen utensils.
  • Art
    Statues, busts, decorations, wind musical instruments, monuments, weapons parts, decorating of furniture.

How to distinguish copper from other non-ferrous metals

Copper in its pure form without additives has three main features that make it possible to distinguish it from other metals of similar colour: plasticity, corrosion resistance and intensive golden colour of red and pink hue.

In domestic conditions, pure copper is easy to distinguish from other metals by thermal or chemical exposure. Both options lead to a change in the colour of metal. When heated, the copper desaturates and becomes completely dark. Moreover, if you drop it with nitric acid, under the influence of this liquid, rust stains of blue-green colour appears on pure copper.

Brass and bronze are copper alloys, and in colour they look like copper much more than others. These alloys are valued a little less than copper.

Brass is an alloy of copper with a high zinc content, and the more zinc it contains, the more colour shifts from reddish to golden yellow. In addition, if you try to bend such a metal, the copper will bend easily, and the brass will be harder. It is easy to distinguish copper shavings from brass. Copper shavings have a spiral shape, and brass - straight.

Brass scrap
Brass scrap.

Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin; therefore, this metal has a brown-red tint. In addition, bronze is much more durable than copper - if you press on a metal with a hard object, then a cavity will remain on the surface of pure copper.

Bronze sculptures
Bronze sculptures (Las Vegas).

Another way to determine the metal is to dip it in a hot salt solution (about 200 grams of salt per 1 liter of water) and hold for at least 15 minutes. Bronze will retain its colour, and copper will darken.

It is possible to distinguish bronze from brass, using a burner flame. If you heat the metal to a temperature of 600-650 degrees and bend it, brass will become flexible, whereas bronze sample will simply break, because this temperature makes the zinc, which is contained in significant amounts in brass, brittle.

Another way to understand where the bronze is, and where brass is to use a welding machine. In bronze, the welding process is smokeless, and in brass, it is accompanied by the appearance of white smoke.

It is also worth noting that copper and its alloys do not make a spark when processed by the grinder.

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Be careful! Another important point in the recognition of metals concerns those cases when it is necessary to understand from which metal the wire in the cable is made: from copper, steel or aluminum.

The fact is that tinned copper has a silvery shade, so it looks like aluminum. At the same time, copper-coated aluminum turns yellow, and becomes poorly distinguishable from copper.

Here is the easiest way - try to bend and straighten the wire. Aluminum core will quickly break. You can also heat the core on the burner - aluminum will start to melt faster.

However, the most reliable way to determine copper is to make a spectral analysis of a metal.

Purchase prices for copper and its alloys

Today, copper is one of the most expensive non-ferrous metals, so about 80% of the world's copper is recycled, and the content of this metal in modern devices is steadily declining in favour of aluminum. Moreover, this metal regularly rises in price.

The highest price in large scrap metal receiving points in Ukraine is offered for pure copper - from 80 to 120 hryvnia per kilogram, depending on the season and the current market situation. Much cheaper is given for products from copper alloys: for a kilogram of bronze or brass, you can put in your pocket from 60 to 80 hryvnia.

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If you contact Kharkiv company Cheburator, you can easily earn up to 116,000 hryvnias per ton of copper and up to 70,000 hryvnias per ton of copper alloys. In addition, here every client can get clear answers from experts to all questions about scrap, as well as solve problems of dismantling and removal of metal waste in a profitable and efficient way.

How to collect and prepare copper scrap for selling

It is not a secret that collecting of non-ferrous scrap is a very profitable occupation. Moreover, if the scrap is properly prepared for selling, it will increase its value.

The value of copper waste will increase if the copper wires are previously separated from pipes and other parts. Each element should be cleaned of dirt, plastic and other non-metallic materials. Insulation from the wires should also be removed.

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Be careful! Pumps and coils of refrigerators and air conditioners may contain hazardous chemicals.

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If you turn to the scrap site of Kharkiv company Cheburator you will not only save yourself from unnecessary rubbish, but also you can count on a fair quick payment, high prices, qualified assistance and prompt resolution of all issues on scrap metal.