The answer is yes. Metal detectors can detect aluminum.

Why metal detectors detect aluminum?

Metal detectors are typically designed to detect metal in the form of conductors and circuits. Metal detectors work by sending out a current across an object, which generates a voltage when the object is an electrical conductor. Aluminum conducts electricity so that aluminum would be easily detected with a metal detector.

Difference between aluminum and other metals:

Aluminum is not magnetic but can still be detected by a metal detector. Magnets have high magnetic permeability (the number of magnetic fields they can support). By contrast, conductors last only if they have a high electrical conductivity.

How to detect aluminum with metal detectors:

Metal detectors can be designed to detect a wide range of metal, from tiny gold particles on the beach to large cannonballs deep underground. The basic principles are the same send out an electrical current through the material and look for a voltage from the return path.

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First, sweep the machine over a bulk sample of dirt or sand. This will allow you to build up an idea of what is below.

Secondly, sweep over a piece of aluminum foil. A larger return compared to the bulk material indicates that you have found aluminum foil. You can then dig a hole straight away to find the rest of the buried item.

Factors that would affect the performance of metal detectors in detecting aluminum:

Several factors can affect the ability of a metal detector to perform when used for aluminum detection.


The first factor is temperature. Metals tend to expand when heated and contract when cooled. At room temperature, the difference is negligible, but when a metal detector is used in a place with extreme temperatures, the ability to detect metal can be affected. Aluminum contracts much more than most metals at low temperatures; below -300°C (-184°F).


Another factor that affects a metal detector’s ability to detect aluminum is density. In general, the larger and denser a piece of material, the stronger its magnetic field will be. In addition, if metal detectors are used in areas with high populations of minerals that contain iron oxide (magnetite), they may give false signals for aluminum. The presence of aluminum in ground soil can be detected from multi-frequency metal detectors. The detection range of aluminum is from 0.9-0.15 micrometer at 50 hertz to 30 micrometers at 300 hertz.

Soil Composition

Another factor that affects whether aluminum can be detected with a metal detector is soil composition. Clay soil conducts better than coarse sand which indicates the presence of aluminum. Its presence in clay soil is more than in coarse sand.

Which metal detectors to use when detecting aluminum?

When deciding on which type of metal detector to purchase in your hunt for aluminum, you must consider what types of metal you are hunting. Some detectors are designed to detect differences between two metals if they have the same conductivity, but other detectors can only detect differences in conductivity. If what you are looking for is not magnetic (like aluminum) and has the same conductivity as other metals present in the ground (like iron), it may be wise to invest in a metal detector designed especially for finding non-magnetic metals.

If you only need a metal detector that can detect aluminum and nothing else, purchasing an all-metal detector may be more beneficial. An all-metal detector can detect the differences in conductivity and allows you to start looking for aluminum as soon as it is detected.

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Metal detectors can detect aluminum. The type of ground and temperature can affect the ability of a metal detector to detect aluminum. An all-metal detector is ideal if you are looking for non-magnetic metals like aluminum. Still, if you are looking for both non-magnetic and magnetic metals, it may be more beneficial to purchase a multi-frequency metal detector.