Recycling Silver Cadmium Contacts Can Give You a Big Payday

If you’re buying and recycling scrapped precious metals, we have a piece of profitable advice for you today . . .

Be on the lookout for silver cadmium scrap or unused components

Photo of silver cadmium electrical contacts scrap that customers have shipped to Specialty Metals for recycling and refining.

Photo of silver cadmium electrical contacts scrap that customers have shipped to Specialty Metals for recycling and refining.

There’s a lot of money to be made by recycling them, for several reasons. First, old industrial components made of silver cadmium are not difficult to find, because they have been used for years in many manufacturing processes. Second, with cadmium trading at about $12 per pound, a quantify of unused or recycled silver cadmium components can offer you a big return over what you paid for them.

Why Is Silver Cadmium Used?

Good question. Silver cadmium contacts and other components are used in electrical devices because they possess two contradictory traits. First, they are excellent conductors of electricity. Second, they are also arc-resistant, which mean that they inhibit the tendency of electricity to arc between open contacts and cause fires. Those two traits make alloys of cadmium and silver ideal for use in switches and other applications, especially where high electrical loads are present.

Where Can You Find Cadmium Silver?

If you own almost any kind of electronic scrap, you probably already own quantities of silver cadmium scrap. It is widely used in motors, switches, relays, and electrical contacts. But if you want to obtain larger quantities, be sure to check out business liquidation auctions. If you find an auction that is liquidating one of the following businesses, chances are very good you will be able to buy a quantity of silver cadmium scrap at low prices . . .

  • Metal foundries, fabricators, and molding companies.
  • Manufacturers of medical and other testing devices.
  • Companies where welding was part of any manufacturing processes.
  • Manufacturers of low-volume customized electronic devices and prototypes.

What Components Should You Be Looking for?

Components made of cadmium silver come in many forms. Here are some you should be on the lookout for . . .

  • Contact rivets. They look like ordinary little rivets, but think again. If they are made of cadmium silver, they are worth a lot more than you think. They are used in fittings that attach contacts to wires, that couple thermocouples and wires together, and elsewhere. So if you find a quantity of ordinary-looking little rivets in unopened boxes or drawers, be sure to send them to us for testing.
  • Multi-metal contact findings and components. They come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are standardized components that can be bought in quantity. At other times, they could have been custom-fabricated to be installed in specialized devices like production-line kilns, medical testing equipment and aerospace components. Sometimes you’ll find silver cadmium rivets incorporated in them, so be on the lookout. Again, the message is to look carefully at any scrap and unused devices that you find, because even contacts that are made of steel or copper could incorporate small parts that are made of more valuable alloys of silver and cadmium.
  • Electrical contact tape. It’s used in the fabrication of specialized electronic devices that are used in laboratory and medical testing and in production line equipment. So when searching for scrap metals, be on the lookout for rolls of metallic tape. Not all tape contains cadmium silver, but some does. If you own some, be sure to send it to us for testing.

How Much Cadmium Is in Silver Cadmium Components and Scrap?

The answer is, it depends. Silver cadmium alloys typically contain between 10% and 25% cadmium. How can you tell what you have? Send us a sample for testing. Call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more. And when you do, be sure to mention our blog and ask about free or discounted shipping costs when you send your items to us to be tested.

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