Difference Between Steel & Aluminum BX

Stock Aluminum BX Wire from RR Yard

Which will win for Steel vs. Aluminum BX? As our population increases and more and more buildings are created due to the increased demand, the need for electrical wires to be run only becomes more significant. Let’s discuss the makeup of these wires, shedding light on what they are made of, how to distinguish between them, where to find them, and the nuances of pricing when selling to a scrap yard.

Composition of Steel BX

Steel BX, particularly Insulated Steel BX, boasts a copper core enclosed within an outer steel casing.

Composition of Aluminum BX

Aluminum BX was made primarily because it is so much lighter and easier to hang in ceilings, through walls, or wherever else that it is needed. As one of the top conductors in commercial electrical applications, it is hard to guess where and when you go to scrap it, but you do have a few options.

Differentiating Between Steel and Aluminum BX

An obvious way to tell the difference between steel and aluminum BX wire would be by running your magnet along the material. If it sticks to the outside, you have steel BX; if it does not, you have aluminum BX wire. The inside wire of the BX wires is usually THHN, which can get you a good amount of cash at the scrap yard.

BX Grading and Pricing

Scrap yards often grade steel BX based on magnet test results. Magnetic attraction indicates a steel casing, leading to a lower scrap price. Conversely, non-magnetic materials like aluminum BX command higher prices at the scrap yard.

Where to Find Scrap BX

You can typically find scrap Steel or Aluminum BX in many of the following locations:

  • Construction Sites: After construction or remodeling projects, scrap steel BX is often abundant, as electricians and contractors discard unused or replaced materials.
  • Remodeling Projects: Home rewiring projects generate aluminum BX, offering homeowners and DIY enthusiasts a chance to capitalize on the scrap value of these materials. Many older homes may still have steel BX inside them.
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03/14/2024 04:15 am GMT

Separating Your BX for Maximum Value

Remember to separate your different types of BX cable before heading to the yard. This ensures you get the maximum profit for your scrap. If you have the time, volume of material, and an efficient stripper, you can always strip the casing to get the bare bright wire underneath and bring the shielding in as steel or aluminum scrap.

Scrap Your BX!

BX is like the Chinese finger traps you used as a kid. When you go to pull it, it will get tighter around the copper wire and will be very tough to get off. If you want to separate the copper from the aluminum, you will make money, but how much time you spend will be the determining factor.

Please share your experiences with us!

Scrap ya later, Tom.

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