Stainless Steel and Nickel Alloy

If you have shiny metal that is as heavy as steel, but does not stick to a magnet, it is probably stainless steel.

Stainless steel that is most commonly used in your home is about 8% nickel, 18% chrome, and the remainder is steel. Frequent uses for nickel-containing stainless run the gamut from kitchen sinks and cookware to restaurant grills and refrigerators. Restaurants use it so much because it will not rust, therefore they can clean it well enough to minimize germs and meet local health code requirements. In our business it is referred to as “300 Series Stainless.”

As with other metals, the way to get the most money is to remove stainless from other metals and substances such as plastic, steel, etc.

Usually when you run across something that looks like stainless, but is strongly magnetic like steel, it turns out to be chrome-steel, which has no nickel in it. The high-chrome content allows it to resist corrosion better than steel alone. Our industry refers to it as “400 Series Stainless.”

Other nickel alloys usually have a lot more nickel in them and can pay quite a bit more money, butyou only find them in industrial applications. Interestingly enough, the more nickel, the more likely it is to stick to a magnet. Pure nickel is highly magnetic.

If you work in a business that uses nickel alloys, we are able to test them for you using an X-Ray Analyzer. It shows us how much of each element is in the alloy, allowing us to figure out which grade it corresponds to and quote a price.