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  • What happens to aluminum in the recycling process?

    Aluminium recycling is not new.   Aluminium recycling is the process by which scrap aluminum can be reused in products after its initial production.  It has been a common practice since the early 1900s and extensively capitalized during World War II.    It was, however, a low-profile activity until the late 1960s when the exploding popularity of aluminium beverage cans finally placed recycling into the public consciousness.

    The process involves  re-melting the metal.  This is far less expensive and energy intensive than creating new aluminium through the electrolysis of aluminium oxide (Al2O3), which must first be mined from bauxite ore and then refined using the Bayer process. Since recycling does not transmute the element, aluminium can be recycled indefinitely and still be used to produce any product for which new aluminium could have been used.

    Recycling aluminium uses about 5% of the energy required to create aluminium from bauxite.

    The recycling of aluminium  produces significant cost savings over the production of new aluminium ….even when the cost of collection, separation and recycling are taken into account.   Over the long term, even larger national savings are made when the reduction in the capital costs associated with landfills, mines and international shipping of raw aluminium are considered.  Recycling aluminium uses about 5% of the energy required to create aluminium from bauxite. 

    For this reason, approximately 31% of all aluminium produced in the United States comes from recycled scrap.  The amount of energy required to convert aluminium oxide into aluminium can be vividly seen when the process is reversed during the combustion of thermite or ammonium perchlorate composite propellant.

    Used beverage containers are the largest component of processed aluminum scrap, with most UBC scrap manufactured back into aluminum cans.  Other sources for recycled aluminium include aircraft, automobiles, bicycles, boats, computers, cookware, gutters, siding, wire, and many other products that need a strong light weight material, or a material with high thermal conductivity.

    After collection, the scrap aluminium is separated into a range of categories such as  irony aluminium (engine blocks etc.), clean aluminium (alloy wheels) and then cleaned in preparation for the next step.  Tthe specification of the required ingot casting it will determine on the type of scrap used in the start melt.  The scrap is then taken to a reverberatory furnace (other methods appear to be either less economical and/ or dangerous) and melted down to form a “bath”.  The re-melt process removes any coatings or nk that may be present on the aluminum.  The molten metal is tested using spectroscopy on a sample taken from the melt to determine what refinements are needed to produce the final casts.   After any necessary refinements have been added the melt may be tested several times to be able to fine tune the batch to the specific standard

    Once the”recipe” of metal is correct, the furnace is tapped and poured into ingot moulds, usually via a casting machine. The melt is then left to cool, stacked and sold on as cast silicon aluminium ingot to various industries for re-use.

    There is also a secondary recycling process for aluminum.   White dross from primary aluminium production and from secondary recycling operations still contains useful quantities of aluminium which can be extracted industrially.  The process produces aluminium billets, together with a highly complex waste material.  This is a difficult to manage waste because it reacts with water, releasing a mixture of gases (including, among others, hydrogen, acetylene, and ammonia) which spontaneously ignite on contact with air.   Contact with damp air results in the release of large quantities of ammonia gas. Despite these difficulties, the waste has found use as a filler in asphalt and concrete.

     

     

    Of course there are creative ways to recycle also.  Check out what some people have done to make good use of their aluminum.CERT-34104 aluminum recycling rim table bike wheel trellis

     

    Aluminum is an amazing metal!

     



  • What to do with metal?

    The family holiday…… a few weeks away…… one has plenty of time to think.  During that downtime, you think about all that you have in the scrap metal yard. There is an abundance of quality metal that is in the yard which will last for a very long time as it is not something that breaks down quickly.  It just needs to be refinished and made into something which we can truly appreciate, either for its use or its beauty.

    Being a creative person that loves crafting, I tried to find some inspiration for the many pieces of different metals that are available to me.  Yes, scrap metal recycling can be a great source of income, but it also offers a person a creative venue as well.  There are stories everywhere of individuals who have created robots, furniture, lawn ornaments, gates, decorative wall art and much more out of bits and pieces they have laying around.

    After doing some research on the wonderful world wide web, I stumbled upon a few sites that I found very inspirational.  One of the many that stand out in my mind are transformer sculptures created by a Chinese man who calls himself the ‘steel legend’.  His sculptures are incredibly detailed and to the general public,  is viewed as a true passion of his.

    transformer-5..scrap metal transformer-8 ...scrap metal transformer                                                                                                      scrapmetal-sparrow-4

     

    For more information, visit http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/12/non-trashy-recycled-and-trash-art/

     

    Another artist, Ptolemy Elrington, makes some unique and attractive sculptures that would be a great focal pint in anyone’s garden.  He began creating with hubcaps and has now branched out into grocery cart parts and old pots and pans.

    0803crayfish...metal

     

     

     

    Mario Caicedo Langer

    Langer creates sculpture from trash and broken gadgets

    heartbot...metal

     

    For more information, visit  http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/12/non-trashy-recycled-and-trash-art/.

     

    I did come across an extremely inspirational site in which all of the images were blocked so I am unable to share those images with you..  The images are of a variety of items and it is very obvious that the artists are truly passionate about what the do.  I highly recommend visiting the site as it is definitely an inspiration to be ‘green’.  The site is http://www.mudgeebusiness.com/art—recycled.html. The town of Mudgee is one with a small population located in South Wales.  Richard Nagel, Murie Berry and Peter Brooks deserve every ounce of credit they receive for their artistic abaility.

     

    A very unique furniture site I cam across gave me inspiration to refurnish my home.  Can you imagine the longivity of each piece along with the cost savings?  THe artist/designer is Bob Campbell, also known as ‘Stig’.   He used scrap metal parts from cogs and wheels to chains and treads.

     

    scrap-recycled-metal-art...b scrap-recycled-metal-furniture-designs
    Read more: http://dornob.com/scrap-metal-furniture-incredible-industrial-art-design/#ixzz2d6CWQOFE

     

    The talent and insight of these creative individuals is amazing.  We must appreciate the time, thought and effort they have put into designing their creations!  A great way to give new life to something old.

     

     

    Refernces

    http://dornob.com/scrap-metal-furniture-incredible-industrial-art-design/#axzz2d6AdoaZp

    http://www.geekologie.com/2011/03/guy-builds-army-of-scrap-metal.php

    http://www.mudgeebusiness.com/art—recycled.html

    http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/12/non-trashy-recycled-and-trash-art/