Difference Between Copper & Brass Scrap

Two very common metals that are seen in the scrap industry are copper and brass. Both are a higher value metal and used in a lot of plumbing work and electrical components. While they are similar in places they are used, they are different in what they are made of and the scrap value for them.

What Is Copper Scrap?

Copper is an element of the periodic table, which means it’s a natural resource found in the earth. Copper mines are all over the world and continue to pull the raw material from the earth’s surface. Copper is a reddish colored metal and is considered soft. Because of its highly conductive and thermal makeup, it is very useful in electrical systems and capable of withstanding heat.

Metal Facts About Copper:

  • Periodic Table Symbol: Cu
  • Melting Point: 1,984℉ (1,085℃)
  • Discovered: 9000 BC

More recently, copper has been used in places that were once made with gold in computers. In addition to replacing gold for better costs, copper is still commonly used in plumbing and electrical work. Copper pipes are usually scrapped in two different categories; #1 copper tubing is clean of brass, solder, and any other non-copper items and #2 copper tubing have some items like brass fittings and solder on them.

Another common way copper is scrapped is from electrical wiring. With its high conductivity, copper is a great way to send electrical currents through systems. Insulated copper wire and cable are common items electricians will often scrap. For thicker cables and wires, some scrappers will strip the copper wire to get bare bright copper wire. This is one of the highest valued materials at scrap yards.

Suggested Reading: Top 8 Places to Find Scrap Copper

What Is Brass Scrap?

Brass is an alloy metal, which means it is made up a few different elements and cannot be found naturally in the world. Brass contains a percentage of copper and zinc. It is commonly used for plumbing fixtures and mechanical components. Its color can be different depending on the percentage of copper to zinc ratio there is. Typically it is yellowish in color because the silver of the zinc brings down the vibrant reddish color of the copper it is with.

Metal Facts About Brass:

  • Melting Point: 1,650-1,720℉ (900-940℃) – This is dependent on composition
  • Recycling Rate: Almost 90% of brass is recycled.

Brass is a common metal that plumbers will often come across for components for plumbing systems like faucets, attachments, and water meters. Another metal that is often mentioned along with brass is bronze. Bronze or red brass is also an alloy metal but has a higher value because of the higher copper content inside.

Suggested Reading: What’s The Difference Between Brass & Bronze?

What’s The Difference Between Copper & Brass?

Knowing what each metal is used for and made up of, it’s easier to know what the difference is. The difference between copper and brass is a few things, the scrap price value for it, what they are each used for and also the content of the metal itself. Copper is a raw element found in the earth’s surface and brass is made from multiple elements. Copper is generally used more for electronics and brass is commonly used for plumbing components. Copper is generally higher for scrap value and brass is lower.

Looking for prices for copper scrap and brass scrap? Check the iScrap App!

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