Metal Test Identification

Magnet Test

 This is a simple way to quickly sort out non ferrous and ferrous metals, you'll need a magnet. It's pretty easy, non ferrous metals don't stick to a magnet like copper, brass, and aluminum. Ferrous metals stick to a magnet like tin, iron, and steel.

Color Test

 Some metals can be easily identified by just looking at what color they are. Like Zinc, Aluminum, Tin, and Lead are whitish, then you can further categorize them. Here are 2 good examples, Brass and Copper.


  • Yellow-ish Gold-ish, if high in zinc, otherwise reddish
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  • Reddish Brown 
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File Test

 Another way is the file test, its used to identify carbon content of steel with the use of any workshop file.

Steel Type             | Carbon Content          | Reaction Of File
Mild                      | less than 0.15%          | Bites against metal easily
Medium Carbon    | 0.15% - 0.25%          | Bites with Pressure
High Alloy             | 0.26% - 0.35%          | Bites only with Force
Tool                      | 0.36% - 0.45%          | Bites with difficulty
Hardened Tool      | over 0.45%                | Slides over metal

Chipping Test

 Another way to identify an unknown metal is to use a chisel and chip away small pieces of the metal. I found an image which explains the test, rather than writing it all out. (Source)

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Spark Test

 Another way to identify metals is the spark test, you'll need a type of grinder to create a spark, like an angle grinder or bench grinder, I would recommend a bench grinder for it produces better sparks. I've found a picture from a book which explains in details of the spark test (source). Take note of the color and characteristics of the sparks for it will help you identify the metal.

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 Take Note of the characteristics of the sparks, the color, the length, and the appearance of the sparks will help you to quickly identify metals.