March 24, 2023 in ARIZONA IRON SUPPLY

What are you Working With?

In the world of Phoenix metal construction, unknowns are always unwelcome. And in the realm of unknowns, trying to work with a metal without knowing exactly what kind it is ranks among the worst. If you don’t know what you’re working with, forget about fully understanding how to cut, mold, or build; let alone trying to order more if needed. And simply making an assumption about what metal is being used or what kind is needed can result in unsafe, unsound structures. For example, some metals may be reactive with certain chemicals, and may result in corrosion. Different metals have varying properties and react differently to heat, pressure, or other environmental factors. Not only that, but some metals require different tools and machining techniques than others. Also, some metals may not accept a treatment or painting well, and some may not be compatible with outdoor use. As you can see, determining what kind of metal you’re using is crucial for many reasons.

At Arizona Iron Supply we’re able to help you determine what kind of metal you’re using; and if needed, what kind you should be using. There are a number of tests that can help us determine the kind of metal you’re working with:

Chip Test

By chiseling a small chip of the metal in question, we can determine a lot of helpful information about the metal by looking at the texture and other characteristics.

Spark Test

When we grind metal against a wheel, sparks are created. The form, length, and color of the sparks can help us identify the metal.

Magnet Test

Certain metals have a strong magnetic component. If a magnet attaches to a metal, this means that the metal is ferrous. Ferrous metals include nickel, iron, cobalt, manganese, and steel.

Hardness Test

The Hardness Test is helpful in many ways, but particularly if you want to determine whether the metal you’re working with contains lead. Because lead is toxic, identifying its presence is crucial before beginning any work with the metal. A Hardness Test involves applying pressure from either a flat or pointed component, and then evaluating the indention it leaves behind. 

Eye Test

Sometimes the easiest method is the best. As long-standing experts in the metal industry, we’ve learned how to determine many types of metal by carefully looking them over. While this seems simple, it does require a trained eye. By examining a metal’s untouched surface, the appearance of a fracture, and also a filed portion of the surface, our knowledgeable staff can determine if the metal is steel (and what grade), or lead, aluminum, and more.  

We understand the importance of knowing exactly what you’re working with, and are motivated to help you figure it out and supply you with more when needed. Not only that, but our team of Phoenix metal experts can advise you on best practices to go with every type of metal. We know our metals well, and are available to offer guidance on what tools, cutting, and Arizona construction projects are best-suited for each kind. At Arizona Iron Supply, you’ll be inspired and impressed at the talent and helpfulness of our team. Whether you need to have metal identified, or just have questions about any metal in general, we’re ready to help.