Types of Copper scrap: What’s the difference?


Types of Copper scrap are being used, bought, and sold on a large scale in the market. Copper is a naturally occurring element on Earth, and it occupies position number 29 on the periodic table. Copper is a malleable and pliable metal that possesses a variety of beneficial qualities, including its softness and malleability. Since the beginning of human history, people have been making use of it, and it was the first metal to ever be combined with another. In particular, it has excellent properties as a conductor of both heat and electricity. Because of this, it is an excellent option for usage in building materials and is frequently utilized for wire. In addition to such uses, it has been put to use in the creation of jewelers and thermocouples. Because it is such a flexible material, it can be found being utilized in several different settings.

However, you can’t just take any copper to a scrap buyer and expect to get the same amount for anything. A scrap buyer will only buy certain types of copper. There are a wide variety of distinct kinds of scrap copper, and even within those categories, there are numerous distinct grades of copper. To arrive at a reasonable price for junk, all of these factors need to be taken into consideration. Let’s have a look at the many grades of copper scrap that are available as well as the different sorts of scrap that are typically made from these grades. When it comes to the collecting of scrap and recycling of materials, copper is among the most precious metals that can be found. Copper, which has an infinitely long life as a recyclable material, is utilized and reused in a wide variety of applications, including motors, computers, construction, and industrial machinery. A dependable means of obtaining high-quality copper scrap is an excellent asset to have on hand, regardless of whether you collect or deal in scrap metal as a hobby, on the side as a dealer or full-time as a professional. On the other hand, the quality of the scrap copper you offer will have a significant impact on the pricing you are offered. Because various recycling centers and scrap dealerships tend to charge different prices based on their classifications, it is a good idea to have a solid understanding of precisely what differentiates the various grades of copper, as well as which of these grades offers the best overall value.

If you want to maximize your profits from the sale or purchase of copper scrap, it is helpful to have a working knowledge of the various grades of copper scrap. Copper scrap is the most valuable type of scrap metal because it can be recycled and reformed without suffering any degradation in quality. Copper scrap is extensively utilized in construction, motors, industrial gear, and electronic devices. And today the business of recycling copper scrap is doing quite well. Copper Scrap can be purchased in a variety of grades, and its price can vary significantly depending on the amount of copper it still retains. When selling or purchasing copper scrap, it is helpful to have a solid understanding of the various grades of copper scrap so that one may get the best price possible and maximize their profits. Copper Scrap can be broken down into one of six different grades. The details are described below.

  • ISRI Codes Associated with the Various Grades of Copper Scrap
  • Waste Copper Wire That Has Been Insulated. Its ISRI Code is DRUID or DROID
  • Copper Solids & Tubings Scrap. Its ISRI Code is CANDY
  • No.1 Copper Wire Scrap. Its ISRI Code is BARLEY or BERRY
  • No.2 Copper Wire Scrap. Its ISRI Code is BIRCH
  • No.3 Copper Scrap or Sheet Copper Scrap. Its ISRI Code is DREAM
  • Copper Wire Scrap Nodules. Its ISRI Code is CLOVE

How Should the Various Types of Copper scrap Be Categorized for Use?

Copper Scrap in its Pure Bright Form or Copper Wire Scrap Grade No. 1

The grade of copper scrap known as “Bare Bright Copper Scrap” or “No. 1 Copper Wire Scrap” is among the most expensive and fetches the highest price. When you sell it in a scrap yard or recycling center, you’ll have a better chance of making more money off of it. Common places to find scrap No. 1 Types of Copper scrap copper wire are old televisions and computer monitors.

Copper Scrap Found in the Yokes of Old Televisions

Copper wires can be salvaged from the yoke of obsolete televisions and computer monitors, which often features a network of copper wires woven together. These copper wires have a bright and shining appearance, and as a result, they are classified as Bare Bright Copper Scrap or No. 1 Copper Wire Scrap. You should keep the copper wire that has been burned somewhat or is dirty separate from the other copper wire because the price of this type of copper wire scrap is lower than the price of bare and glossy copper. No.2 Copper Wire Scrap is the category that includes scrap copper wire that has been contaminated with dirt.

Copper Wire Scrap Number 2

The appearance of being unclean and having contamination are telltale signs that the copper wire scrap in question is a No. 2 grade. Because it is composed of burnt copper wire, the price of the No. 2 Copper Wire Scrap is low. 

Old electric motors are one of the sources of scrap copper wire grade No. 2.

In most cases, the copper wire enameling in older motors has a faint charred appearance. Copper wires that have been charred or scorched are categorized as No. 2 Copper Wire Scrap. Copper wire that has been insulated is wound around the coils of older electric motors seen in HVAC and air conditioning devices. Electric motors, transformers, and generators all have a significant amount of scrap No. 2 copper wire that can be salvaged from them. Copper windings are the most expensive part of scrap motors because of their high copper content. You can make money off of those copper wires if you take apart the old electric motors and disassemble them.

Vehicles at the End of Their Lifecycle

Copper may be salvaged from End-of-Life Vehicles, particularly the wiring, copper can be extracted from electric motors, and copper can be extracted from the “harness” that connects the lights and motors in the vehicle. The scrap value of each of these copper wires can be determined by classifying them as No. 2 Copper Wire Scrap.

No.3 Copper Scrap

In many Types of Copper scrap, number 3 Copper Scrap is the lowermost rating of Copper Scrap. It comes with a high amount of solder or paint impurities, such as sheet copper, gutters, downspouts, kettles, and boilers. The “DREAM” ISRI Code is referenced for No.3 Copper Scrap or Light Scrap in ISRI Scrap Specifications Circular 2020. The circular is where we learned this knowledge. No. 3 Copper Scrap loses a lot of its worth due to the presence of tar and paint. For No. 3 Copper Scrap to be suitable for reuse, the paint or tar must be burned off. This is a significantly more involved process. While renovating an old home or demolishing an old building, be sure to recycle the copper roofing and gutters.

Copper Wire Scrapes That Have Been Insulated

After the insulation has been stripped away, the copper wire will have the appearance of grade No. 1 Copper Wire Scrap. ISRI Scrap Specifications Circular 2020 states that “DRUID or DROID” is the ISRI Code that should be applied to Insulated Copper Wire Scrap.

Scrap Insulated Copper Wire Can Be Obtained From the Following: 

Electrical Contractors

Copper wire is very common for electricity distribution in residential homes, industrial buildings, commercial structures, educational institutions, and office buildings, among other places. Copper wire scraps that have been insulated are mostly supplied by electricians and electrical contractors. The insulation that was left over Copper wires is recyclable and can be obtained from electrical contractors through collection and collection programs. You may also save insulated copper wiring from older buildings by upgrading them and selling them as scrap metal. This works especially well for businesses. In addition to being used in ground electrical systems, insulated copper wire is also utilized in the wiring of telecommunications networks, electronic circuitry, and a wide variety of other types of electrical equipment.

Electronic Appliances

A lot of electronic devices have wires on the outside, but once you open them up, you’ll find more insulated wires inside, and those wires are likely made of copper. Since insulated wire scraps contain copper on the inside, you should be able to sell them in scrapyards. Copper wiring can also be found in conventional telecommunication wires, extension cords, and electronic outlets, all of which can be ripped off and recycled individually.

Domestic Electronic Equipment and Gadgets

Your home’s larger electrical appliances, such as refrigerators, freezers, dryers, washing machines, dishwashers, ovens, and other electronic equipment, all have a thicker insulated wire than smaller electronic gadgets. You can dispose of this Insulated Wire by scrapping it because it is made of copper wiring, and you may sell it in scrap yards using the ISRI Code for DRUID, which is the category for Insulated Copper Wire Scrap. Copper wire that has been insulated can be found both on the inside and the outside of the smaller electronic gadgets in your home. For instance, insulated copper wire can be found in coffee makers, air conditioning units, fans, blenders, and toasters. ISRI identifies all of this Insulated Copper Wire Scrap as DROID, and that is the code for it. Even the wires inside our mobile charger and our portable games are insulated with copper.

Copper scrap, including tubing and solids

Copper Tubings & Solids are essentially the same things. Copper Solids Scrap is clean and free of any crusts such as brass fittings, steel, plastic, paint, solder, and other materials, but it demonstrates only a minimal amount of corrosion. Copper Tubings and solids scrap are classified as either CANDY or CLIFF under the ISRI system.

Copper Tubings and Solids Scrap Come From the Following Sources

Pipes used in plumbing and pipes used for water lines are probably the most familiar examples of copper solids and Tubings. Contractors in the plumbing, demolition, mechanical, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industries are major suppliers of copper solids and Tubing scrap. 

What are you supposed to do with the solder and the copper tubing that has brass fittings? 

The term “No. 2 Copper Tubing Scrap” is one of the most popular Types of Copper scrap that refers to copper tubing and solids. The price of No. 2 Copper tubing Scrap is lower since it takes a long time to process them and requires more refining as a result of the increased number of impurities connected. The No. 1 Copper Tubing & Solids category includes all of these other types of copper tubing as well.

Copper Wire Scrap Nodules

This procedure creates the nodules. Nodules derived from copper wire scrap typically contain a minimum of 99% copper.

Copper Manufacturing Units are the first category of source for copper wire scrap nodules.

Small copper scraps in the shape of nodules can be found in a factory that manufactures or recycles copper if the copper wire scraps, particularly insulated copper wire waste, are chopped or shredded. These Copper Nodules have a content of 99% copper, and following the ISRI Code CLOVE, they are deemed to be the No. 1 Copper Wire Scrap Nodules. You can sell the Copper Wire Scrap Nodules individually if they have a dirty appearance and contain certain metal impurities. If it was discovered that there was a greater quantity of metal impurities than usual, then the nodules are classified as No. 3 Copper Wire Scrap.

Have a Large Number of Copper Scraps in Your Possession? Where Do We Go From Here?

Do you happen to have any of the grades of copper scraps that were stated earlier? Are you interested in purchasing a significant quantity of one or more Types of Copper scrap? You have come to the correct place; with the business-to-business scrap marketplace RecycleInMe, you will be able to sell or purchase any grade of copper scraps. The online scrap marketplace known as RecycleInMe deals in more than 100 different recyclables and scrap materials. 

Bare Bright Copper

A scrap dealer’s top priority, when it comes to finding different forms of copper, is to locate bare shining copper. This grade is the most desirable and fetches the highest price, and it is sometimes referred to as “bright and glossy copper.” The #1 copper quality is designated by this designation. The classification does not take into account the use of copper pipes. As the name suggests, insulation and any other materials must be removed from the samples before analysis can begin. In addition to this, the metal must not have any paint on it, any impurities, or any evidence of tarnishing. This includes any visible oxidation, and on the copper, just the tiniest quantities of patina are acceptable.

The distinction between brass and bronze

Copper scrap is much easier to identify while identifying brass and bronze is much more complex and requires more information. Although many of the applications and uses of different grades of brass and bronze are comparable, the chemistry of the two metals can be quite distinct from one another. When attempting to correctly identify the brasses, using a handheld analyzer will be of tremendous assistance. Zinc is the primary component in the alloying process for brasses, which are types of metal. Other elements that are used for alloying, such as iron, aluminum, nickel, and silicon, may also be present in brasses. Bronzes are types of copper alloys in which zinc or nickel do not predominate as the primary alloying ingredient. In its original usage, the term “bronze” referred to alloys in which tin was either the only or primary alloying element. In modern times, people typically use the word “bronze” when describing things. When viewing the true color of the metal, good lighting, such as that found outdoors, can be of great assistance. Recyclers will come across various Types of Copper scrap of brass and bronze, including the following:

Copper red brass

Recyclers will find these families of alloys inside this group. The good combination of casting characteristics, machinability, and general utility that red brass possesses has contributed to its widespread use. 

  • Electrical hardware components commonly make use of the alloy C83300, which is composed of 92 to 94 percent copper, 1 to 2 percent tin, 1 to 2 percent lead, and 2 to 6 percent zinc.
  • Castings, valves, fittings, and high-quality plumbing goods are the most common applications for the alloy C83600, which consists of 84 to 86 percent copper, 4 to 6 percent tin, 4 to 6 percent lead, and 4 to 6 percent zinc.
  • C83800 is a common alloy that is used in typical low-pressure valves, fittings, and pumps. Its composition includes 82 to 83.8 percent copper, 3.3 to 4.2 percent tin, 5 to 7 percent lead, and 5 to 8 percent zinc. 

This is how the majority of the new red brass is being produced. When exposed to silver nitrate, red brass alloys take on a tint that is somewhere between reddish and light yellow (medium weight) and spontaneously acquire a gray-black or black color on the surface of the material. They do not show any signs of magnetic reactivity.

Red Brass 

These alloys were developed in the 1980s. These alloys are quite popular since they have a low overall cost, excellent machinability, and excellent casting qualities.

  • C84400 contains between 78 and 82 percent copper, 2.3 and 3.5 percent tin, 6 and 8 percent lead, and 7 and 10 percent zinc, is utilized.
  • C84800 is a common alloy that is utilized in plumbing fixtures, faucets, stops, and low-pressure valves. Its composition includes 75 to 77 percent copper, 2 to 3 percent tin, 5.5 to 7 percent lead, and 13 to 17 percent zinc.

Brasses with a reddish/golden red hue that are duller than red brass are called semi-red (because of their higher lead content). After the application of silver nitrate, the color shifts from transparent to grey, and then it quickly transforms into black. There is no magnetic reaction observed in semi-red brasses.

Yellow Brass

Zinc is the principal element that contributes to the alloying process in all of the leaded and high-strength yellow brass alloys. These alloys are separated into two distinct families: the lead-free yellow brasses with lower strength and the yellow brasses with higher strength (manganese bronze). When a distinct yellow hue as well as a low cost and good corrosion resistance are sought, these alloys are employed because of their unmistakable yellow color and their low cost. The following are the most popular types of yellow brass alloys:

  • C85200 is frequently utilized in the production of plumbing fixtures and fittings as well as ornamental castings.
  • C85400 is most commonly utilized in the production of plumbing fixtures and fittings as well as ornamental castings.
  • C85700 is a typical alloy that is utilized in plumbing flanges, ornamental and hardware ship trim, and fittings. 

Brass that is yellow and typically lightweight is called yellow brass. When exposed to yellow brass, silver nitrate instantaneously turns black and then gradually transitions into a grey color. The alloys in question do not exhibit any magnetic response.

Manganese bronze

Another alloy that belongs to the yellow brass family, this high-strength yellow brass has been given that designation. These alloys find use in situations that call for relatively high strength in addition to good corrosion resistance and a cost that is comparable to that of comparable alternatives. The following are examples of members of this family:

  • The alloy C86200 is commonly utilized for brackets, shafts, gears, and structural elements. 
  • C86300 is typically utilized for screw-down nuts, slow-speed heavy load bearings, and gears. 
  • C86400 is frequently utilized for strength applications such as the production of machine parts and propellers for both salt and fresh water.

The color of manganese bronze can be described as a dull yellow or yellow (medium weight) hue. The color of silver nitrate changes from black to grey very instantly when it is exposed to manganese bronze. 

Aluminum bronze

Aluminum bronzes are copper-based alloys that contain between 6% and 12% aluminum together with various amounts of iron, nickel, and/or silicon. The percentages of these other elements can vary. Aluminum bronzes are utilized extensively in a variety of applications that call for high levels of strength, hardness, and ductility, in addition to corrosion resistance. In many applications involving seawater, nickel aluminum bronzes are the material of choice. 

  • C95200 is frequently utilized for landing gear and applications in the marine industry.
  • C95300 is frequently used in gears, mining applications, and marine applications.
  • Heavy gears, nuts, and pump applications make use of C95400.
  • C95500 is a popular choice for high-strength applications such as tank gun recoil mechanisms and other high-strength mechanisms. 

When aluminum bronze is present, the color of silver nitrate does not change. 

Hard brass

The use of bushings and bearings made of hard brass is extremely widespread. In general-duty bearings and bushings, the material C93200, which contains 81 to 84 percent copper, 6.3 to 7.5 percent tin, 6 to 8 percent lead, and 1 to 4 percent zinc, is frequently utilized. When exposed to this alloy, silver nitrate first turns black, then grey, and then back to black again. The alloy has a color that is somewhere between grey and reddish brown. It is not magnetic in any way.

Why Recycle Copper Scrap?

Numerous Types of Copper scrap may be recycled, which might sound like a weird practice at first, but it’s a pretty useful metal for operations. Because the process of recycling causes some metals to lose some of their qualities, the reusable material that you get out the other side may not be as pure as the material that was recycled in the first place. Copper, on the other hand, is not like this at all. Utilizing the same stuff over and over again is simple to do. The copper that will be delivered to a scrap metal specialist by the customer, or that the customer has previously taken to a scrap metal specialist, has an excellent possibility of having already been recycled at least once. Because we have only extracted a small portion of the copper that the earth contains, even though it has already been utilized in a great number of products, this indicates that we have been successful in developing an efficient process for recycling this metal. Even if it might be corroded or include impurities, there is a strong probability that we will be able to get a lot of use out of the copper that is already in circulation. This is the case even though it might contain some of both of those things. If you own some copper that is of decent quality, then you should be able to fetch a reasonable price for it.

Types of Copper scrap and their Resurgence in the U.S

The recycling sector for domestic copper is undergoing a significant shift at the moment, and the individuals in this room are smack in the center of it. When compared to the previous few years, we are witnessing an entirely new ball game as a result of various factors, including the energy crisis, runaway inflation, and rising interest rates.

New Generation of Copper Recyclers

Greenfield asked the presenters at the copper session for their recommendations on what advice they would provide to recyclers who are just beginning their careers in the business because there were a significant number of fresh faces in the room.

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