How to test if conductor is copper or silver based

Hi all,

Was wondering if anyone knows of any low-cost or no-cost procedure for testing if a conductor is copper or silver. I bought some banana plugs for cheap but claimed to be made of "pure" copper or silver. I am just curious if the claim is valid.

Thanks in advance,

any low-cost or no-cost procedure for testing if a conductor is copper or silver.

Some people claim to hear a difference - perhaps someone could listen to them and tell you? - that would cost nothing ;-)
No such thing as commercially available pure copper or silver. Even the very best and most expensive cables use metals that have a very, very small amount of inpurities.
a jewelry store
Autosports - the best copper I know of is zero crystal 9N copper that is 99.9999999% pure or 7N silver that is 99.99999% pure.

Kenobi -testing for purity is very easy - just weight your banana plug (just the metal part) and then drop into water to calculate volume. Once you get density you know what it is. If banana plug won't give you accurate reading of displaced water - then use 1000 of them. I hope it was helpful.
One of my friends is working at the pawn shop and he had a customer who brought him a gold slab to sell. A monetary standard gold slab should weigh about 50 kilos and eventually it did, but he decided to drill a hole... After just less than millimeter of drilling the tin started to come up above the drill bit... What d'u think?
Marakanetz - Tin slab of the same weight is more than twice larger than slab of gold.

1.)Get a bowl large enough for submerging a piece of each. Place each sample in the bowl.

2.) Pour vinegar(any kind) into the bowl.

3.) Wait three minutes.

4.) If one of the sample turns greenish, that's copper. If one turns whitish, that's silver.

5.) If both of them turns whitish or greenish, or no change in color at all, then, the vinegar is fake!

Just kidding!

Why don't you scrape an inner surface where it will not be visible (if it bother's you) and examine the shavings with a magnifying glass and the mark you made. Silver should not have any other color present except silver of course unlike copper shavings where it should be obvious with a magnifying glass. Just a suggestion only of course.


i think some of these experiments are variations of those used at the salem witch trials..happy halloween.
In order to do the Density / Displacement test you need several things.....usually inaccessible to most persons.
1. Source of REALLY pure water. Distilled is best.
2. Temperature control. Everything should be at same temp.
3. Metler Balance or equivilent....a scale which goes to 5 or 6 significant digits.
4. A way to meaure extremely small volumes of water. 3 or 4 millilitres ought to do it.
Magfan - or 1000 banana plugs (just kidding).
Silver is currently ~10/oz.

If you paid less than that by Troy weight then for sure it is not pure silver.

You should be able to tell the difference between copper and silver by eye.

John C.