Difference Between Copper & Brass Scrap

Two prevalent metals in the scrap industry are copper and brass. Both are a higher value metal and are used in a lot of plumbing work and electrical components. While they are similar in the places they are used, they are different in what they are made of and their scrap value.

What Is Copper Scrap?

Copper is an element of the periodic table, which means it’s a natural resource found underneath the surface of the Earth. Copper mines worldwide continue pulling 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 advantageous 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 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 categories: #1 copper tubing is clean of brass, solder, and any other non-copper items, whereas #2 copper tubing will have some contaminants like brass fittings and solder on them.

Suggested Reading: Top 8 Places to Find Scrap Copper

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

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03/14/2024 08:45 am GMT

What Is Brass Scrap?

Brass is an alloy metal comprising a few different elements and cannot be found naturally worldwide. Brass contains a percentage of copper and zinc. It is commonly used for plumbing fixtures and mechanical components. Its color can differ depending on the percentage of copper to zinc ratio. Typically, it is yellowish 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 the composition
  • Recycling Rate: Almost 90% of brass is recycled.

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

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03/14/2024 05:55 am GMT

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

Is Brass Worth More Than Copper?

Knowing what each metal is made up of, it’s easy to figure out which one will be worth more. Copper is a raw element found on 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. Can you now guess which you think is worth more?

Copper has been and will always be the more valuable of the two, due to its purity and the demand in nearly every technological industry.

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