To answer this question in a line, Yes, a metal detector can detect conductive metals, including brass. It works by creating a magnetic field by passing an electric current through the coil.
When a conductive metal is placed close to the metal detector, it disrupts the magnetic field and gives off a signal. Brass is reasonably good at electrical conductivity in the same lines as zinc. So, when a metal detector transmits an electromagnetic field, a brass article will counter by its own electric current.
How Difficult Is It To Detect Brass:
But the strength of detecting metals depends on:
- the quantity of metal present.
- The proximity to the metal detector
- How conductive the metal is.
- Metals like gold, silver, and copper are good conductors while aluminum, brass, and zinc are less so. Metals that have corroded will have a dimmer electromagnetic field than clean metals
Modern metal detectors use two methods to detect objects. The passive method relies on detecting changes in the Earth’s magnetic field induced by the object.
Metals such as cobalt, iron, and nickel can be detected by both active and passive methods. In the active detection method, the metal detector produces a time-varying magnetic field, the kind you see in airports, malls or with a handheld metal detector.
Copper, aluminum, and brass are only detected by active methods. You should also be aware of the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals.
The former refers to a metal that is attracted to magnets. These types of metals are simpler to detect because of this magnetic property even if the metals are rusted and old.
Non-ferrous metals such as copper, gold, silver, brass, lead, etc are not attracted to magnets. They can be detected by metal detectors but will take some more time and effort.
Brass & Differentiation:
Brass is an alloy of Zinc and Copper which are both non-ferrous. This means that brass also will not be attracted to a magnet, no matter how strong its strength.
While there are many hobbyists look for a good metal detector specifically for brass, it’s a shame that no mechanism exists for this purpose alone.
But you will find multipurpose metal detectors that can find brass and other metals admirably. The principal mechanism here is discrimination that differentiates between various alloys and metals.
In simple terms, differentiation will determine if you can find the valuable brass between the piles of rubbish. The ability of a metal detector to differentiated metals has industrial uses in the military, airports, security, clothing industry and construction.
For example, you can choose an audio discriminator that will beep when metals like brass or nickel are detected. We would recommend Garrett AT Pro as it can detect valuables like coins, jewelry made of copper, bronze, aluminum and brass and similar metals.
How to identify Brass?
If you’re a beginner at metal detecting, you may get confused in sorting the trash from the gold! So identifying metals is a skill I would recommend every metal detector hobbyist learns.
When it comes to identifying brass, here are some tips:
- Brass can develop a layer of grime or oxidation over time which can look greenish depending on the acidity it was exposed to.
- Do a check with a magnet as the brass is not magnetic. So if the discovered object is attracted to the magnet, it is something else or an alloy of brass
- Clean the object well and observes its natural color. If it is yellowish, it is probably brass but if it is grey, it is not pure brass and has some concentration of zinc.
- Strike the supposed brass object with another metal or drop it to the ground. If you don’t hear a sound, it is not brass.
- Brass and Bronze are quite similar in composition. So if you want to tell them apart, scratch the metal. If it is easy to do is, it is most likely brass.
- In the extreme case, you can melt the object. Brass melts quicker than bronze
- In general, brass is shinier than bronze. So check the object under a magnifying glass.
While brass is no gold or silver that can make you rich, it is a useful metal known for its gold-like appearance. It is used in many daily application locks, gears, bearings, doorknobs, plumbing, music instruments, etc