Do Metal Detectors Detect Aluminum?

This time, we are going to explain why metal detectors actually find aluminum, and why they are usually an obstacle for you while searching for treasure. In short, aluminum metal is a non-ferrous metal (alongside other types of metals including brass, silver, zinc, and even gold) that is becoming increasingly easy for a modern metal detector to detect.

Most metal detectors detect aluminum. Metal detectors are designed in order to detect iron materials, but some metals are sufficiently similar to iron that a detector can be tweaked to detect them. Aluminum is such metal. Common aluminum items detectors find include coins, bottle caps, and plating.

Nonferrous metals like gold, brass, zinc and foil-like aluminum, and ferrous metals like carbon steel and cast iron, are detectable by most metal detectors. The sensors in the metal detectors will have to be adjusted when they detect non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum.

Since metal detectors operate based on principles of electrical conductivity, not magnetism, it is possible to detect a non-magnetic material like aluminum. If the thing you are looking for is not magnetic (such as aluminum) and has conductivity similar to other metals found in the earth (such as iron), you might want to invest in a metal detector designed specifically to locate nonmagnetic metals. You may find metals with high electrical conductivity (like silver) deeper than less electrically conducting metals such as gold, lead, or stainless steel. Some metals can be separated by their conductivity relative to less-conductive metals, such as gold or steel.

Detectors Are Better for Stainless Steel

Some products made of stainless steel include cookingware, automobile parts, and tools. You can find tons of items made of ferrous metals such as construction beams, cast iron pans, the list can go on forever. One thing you can do is to re-cycle aluminum you find such as tins, foils or other objects made of aluminum. Although, companies will often pay decent amounts of money to melt aluminum and turn it into reused materials.

If you are looking for a metal to melt down and repurpose, aluminum is quite handy. You also need to keep in mind that aluminum comes in a variety of shapes and forms, which may hamper your ability to locate rare items. If you are looking for precious items, we would suggest that you not waste time on aluminum. Then again, we could argue that, regardless of whether you are looking to avoid aluminum or locate aluminum for scrap, doing so is a lot easier using metal detectors that have adjustable settings.

Detectors Are Designed for Specific Metals

The best option is to check your detectors owners manual to find out what settings will work best for what metals. Most detectors have between three and five settings that you can use to search different types of metals. For hunting gold, use a detector that has been tuned with frequencies to improve sensitivity.

For example, say that all you want to look for is gold or silver, you could set your tuner to just search for gold or silver, and the detector would ignore all the other metals and not detect them. Once you have configured the detector based on your specified materials, you should then use individual seek modes and high frequencies to search for aluminum. If the detector is picking up too much aluminum, try screening out signals using discrimination or other features of the device.

The detectors seeker coils collect its electromagnetic fields and generate a targeted response that alerts the user. Another electric current is sent to the speaker or another sensor, which detects the metals in the soil. The electric current then produces a magnetic field around the object, although the metal itself is not magnetic.

How Aluminum Responds to Detectors

Aluminum responds to the electromagnetic field created by a coil, allowing your detector to see it more easily. Due to the configuration of the coil, the metal detector is able to also detect high conductivity non-ferrous components including gold and aluminium, because of which the detector is able to detect it.

Low-frequency detectors will find gold, but when accompanied by other metals, like jewelry or gold coins. If you wish to mask the gold, cover it in lots of layers of aluminum foil, the detectors will detect just the aluminum, and not the gold itself. There is so much aluminum in the earth, it makes up 8% or the crust, and also all that aluminum garbage, that most detectors have a setting that screens for it.

However, the reality is that if a metal or any other object is heavy enough, that means that it will likely block the detectors or the X-rays from seeing what is in there. Even if a metal has conductivity, if it is too thin, then it might go undetected. As you have probably noticed, aluminum is not the easiest thing to spot, but neither is it the hardest.

The Issues Concerning Non-Ferromagnetic Materials

False signals are when the detector is pinging like there is a metal item, but is simply picking up traces of minerals such as zinc. In addition to detection, metal detectors also cannot pick up any metal objects or elements that do not have magnetic properties, since as we mentioned earlier, metal detectors rely on electromagnetic properties to detect metal objects hidden deep beneath the surface.

I mean, you would not want a special detector in that situation, such as the ones used for gold, mineralized soils, or even for relic objects. Whether you are trying to locate aluminium jewelry, trash, or leftover recyclables, the airport detector is generally a good choice. Suffice it to say, metal detection on these types of metals can uncover some precious, hidden treasure.

Each of these metals is quite different in composition, and they are typically found in coins, jewelry, and antiquities. Brass and bronze are both copper alloys, and a lot of things were made using these metals over the centuries. Ferrous metals are known for their high electrical conductivity, making them easy to detect.

Well, believe it or not, although non-ferrous metals might not give off an electromagnetic field, the non-ferrous metals, as well as materials which exist inside Earth in chemical compounds, are in fact highly magnetic, with a high capacity of electric conductivity — this is the reason metal detectors are able to detect the non-ferrous metals later on. The non-magnetic properties of the non-ferrous metals makes them ideal for electrical wiring and applications. Fortunately, objects made from a nonferrous metal are a little expensive, and they are a rarity to come across when hunting down objects.

The Utility of Metal Detectors for Finding Alternative Metals

These types of circumstances where the metal detector is able to detect metals or materials without a ferrous metal are usually known as false targets, and they can be extremely frustrating to a metal detection user, because they can hinder actually finding targets that are valuable and are worth digging in the dirt for. Higher frequencies (around 40kHz) are sensitive to smaller nuggets of gold and other metals with lower conductivity.

The frequencies at which they work, the software that runs them, and the size and shape of the detectors search coils. First, we are going to explain how the size, shape, and orientation of what you are looking for can impact the depth at which you will find it.

Nicholas Finn

I've been the captain of a fishing boat for over 20 years, and I created Pirateering to share my knowledge of and interest in seafaring.

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