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  • Metal…amazing and valuable!

    Metal…..one the most valuable and overlooked resources on the planet.  This amazing resource has been around since medieval times and is used by each and every one of us in some form every day.  Metal is used to make cookware, utensils, aplliances, bed frames, alarm clocks, curling irons, lamsps, vehicles, boats, planes, trains, stoves, overns, refrdgerators, dishwashers, washers, dryers,  It is computers, phones, televisions, radios,  and anything else with wires of some sort in it.  Toys and sporting goods are often made with metal.  Take a good long look around your home and you will be able to identify numeous forms of metal.

     

    How often have you used metal today?picture of what semi red brass might look like

     

    It is a scientific that 75% of all the elements in the Periodic Table are classified as metals.  Non-ferrous metals contain no iron and are not magnetic. Brass, aluminum, copper, bronze and lead are among the metals in this group.  Gold and silver are also part of this group, but usually you would take those metals to a jeweller.    Ferrous metals contain an appreciable percentage of iron and the addition of carbon and other substances creates steel.

    Up to the Medieval era of the Middle Ages it was believed that there were only seven metals which are referred to as the ‘Metals of Antiquity’. The ancient ‘Metals of Antiquity’ are as follows; Gold (6000BC), , Copper (9000BC), Silver (4000BC), Lead (6400BC), Tin (3000BC), Iron (1500BC), Mercury )1500BC)

     

    Metal deposits are non-renewable resources that will run out if exploited at the present rate

     

    Metal deposits are non-renewable resources that will run out if exploited at the present rate.  Reserves of copper are still sizeable but will not be able to sustain present rates of consumption.  It is cheaper to recycle steel than to mine iron ore and manipulate it through the production process to form new steel. Steel does not lose any of its inherent physical properties during the recycling process, and has drastically reduced energy and material requirements compared with refinement from iron ore.  The ability to make full use of ferrous scrap–the product of earlier industrial production-makes steel environmentally attractive and reduces the burden on the world’s resources in meeting the growing and innovative uses for steel around the world.  An aluminum can has no limit to the number of times it can be recycled.

     

    The increasing demand for metals in the course of the last century, putting permanent pressure on natural resources, has revealed that metals are a priority area for decoupling economic growth from resource use and environmental degradation.  7 million metric tons of steel recycled in 2010.  More steel is recycled, by weight, each year in Canada than aluminum, paper and glass combined.   A steel mill using recycled scrap reduces water pollution, air pollution, and mining waste by about 70 percent.

    Given the fact that we have become accutoned to using so much metal, it is time for us a a society to begin thinking about th future.  It will be a harsh reality when the day comes that we no longer have any metal to rely on!

    When you throw away an aluminum can you waste as much energy as if you’d filled the can half full of gasoline and poured it into the ground.

     

     

     



  • 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!

     



  • Facts About Brass

     

    Brass Recycling – Brass is not an element metal by it’s self. But since it’s use is so common and it is often described as it’s own metal, it deserves its own section. The base element found in this type of metal is copper alloyed with a high percentage of zinc. You will also find information here on a couple of commonly bought bronze alloys. Common terms and information in recycling this type of metal and its alloys are given below.

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    Yellow Brasspicture of yellow brass items

    The most commonly used of all brasses and its alloys. It is used in household plumbing including popular items such as your faucets and “under the sink” plumbing. Most of the keys we use will also be yellow brass. Although many different alloy percentages can be found, this type of metal usually contains around 60% to 70% copper, 30% to 40% zinc and trace amounts of lead and tin. This type gets it’s name because of the very apparent yellow color. The  prices often reflect the price of copper,however demand is also key, as with any alloyed metal.

    Red Brasspicture of what red brass looks like

    This brass is still commonly recycled, although diminishing in use. It has a  reddish pink tint which gives it  its name. The red tint is due to the high amount of copper that will usually will be found. This type of metal is commonly made up of 85% copper, 15% zinc and very small traces of lead and tin. Common uses of red brass are sprinklers and shut off valves, but many other items that can be found.

    Semi-red Brasspicture of what semi red brass might look like

    Semi-red brass has replaced red brass as we’ve known it. It is made of a cheaper element mixture which is  equally as useful. The common element alloys are 80% copper, 10% zinc, 5% tin, 2-3% lead and other trace elements. It’s common uses are similar to red brass which include shut off valves, sprinkler’s and other not so common items.

    A less common type of metal that has similar alloyed elements as brass, is bronze. The 2 most used are defind as Aluminum Bronze and Manganese Bronze. Aluminum Bronze is around 90% copper, 7% aluminum, 2-3% iron and traces of other elements. Manganese Bronze is 58.5% Copper, 39% Zinc, 1.4% Iron and small traces of other elements.

    a picture of what bronze metal would look like



  • Copper….What happens in the life of copper metal?

    Copper products are hard wearing and last for a long time and will often still function long after they have been superseded by newer modelsThis metal  can be recycled indefinitely as it does not degrade when processed.   Recycling  this scrap metal can reduce emissions and energy output compared to production from virgin materials as well as protect our natural resources.

    Benefits of recycling copper

    The economic and environmental benefits of recycling copper are given below and illustrate the sustainable nature of the metal:

    Environment……During mining and refining (purification) of copper, dust and waste gases such as sulphur dioxide are produced which may have a harmful effect on the environment. Although these harmful effects are minimised by producers (sulphur dioxide is captured and used to make sulphuric acid), with recycling there are little, if any, harmful gases emitted.

    Disposal of copper is often in holes in the ground – this is called landfill.  These holes are rapidly being filled up and, as they become scarcer, landfill becomes a very expensive option for waste disposal (of any material).

    Energy saving ……In order to extract copper from copper ore the energy required is approximately 100GJ/tonne. Recycling  uses much less energy, about 10GJ/tonne, that’s only 10% of the energy needed for extraction. This energy saving leads to the conservation of valuable reserves of oil, gas or coal and reduces the amount of CO2  released into the atmosphere.

    Conservation of copper ore……To date only about 12% of known resources have been mined. However copper ore is a finite resource and it makes sense to conserve ore by recycling.

    Economics……It is cheaper to recycle old copper than to mine and extract new copper. Recycled copper is worth up to 90% of the cost of the original copper. Recycling helps to keep the cost of  products down.

    What Happens When It’s Recycled?

    When copper scrap is first received for recycling, it is inspected and graded. The scrap material is melted and in some cases brought to higher purity while molten. Chemical analysis checks the purity level.   The molten copper is cast into a cake or a block for further processing.

    Copper alloy scrap has to be segregated, kept clean and identified so that the alloying elements and impurity content of each batch are known. Copper alloys are then melted together into batches of known composition, some with virgin material so that the recycled material has the alloy composition desired.

     

    man in fireproof suit moving a tub of molten copper



  • 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/

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



  • Featured ImageWhat is the most recycled material on earth?

    That would be…..STEEL!

    Almost 69% of all steel is recycled in North America each year, more than paper, aluminum, plastic and glass combined. North America’s average recycling rate has been in excess of 60% since 1970.   More than 80 million tons of steel are recycled each year in North America.  For every ton of steel that is recycled, 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved.    There are millions of tons of iron and steel which are diverted from the waste stream to the recycling stream due to steel’s magnetic properties that make it the easiest material to separate from the solid waste stream.

     

    Did You Know?  Metals can  be recycled indefinitely without ever losing their properties!

     

    Steel is unique among materials. In addition to an attractive mix of strength, quality, cost competitiveness, and adaptability,it  is uniquely recyclable.   It is a widely used magnetic metal.  Steel cans are 99 percent steel with a thin coating of tin, though they are often called “tin   cans.” Steel is made from iron ore, and is 100% recyclable. In fact, all steel  products are made with recycled metal, making it the most recycled material in   the world!

     

    Steel plays a major role in almost every aspect of our daily lives.  The list of steel uses is long and impressive: bridges, tools, buildings, clothing and countless other items all utilize steel in one form or another.  The average  anadian owns over 900kg (2000 lbs.) of steel included in a wide array of goods

    • Products such as cans, the outsides of many appliances, and  car fenders are made with about 30% recycled steel in a basic oxygen furnace.
    • Other steel products such as steel beams and reinforcement  bars used to support cement are made in an electric arc furnace with around   95-100% recycled steel.

    When you buy steel, you’re almost always buying recycled.

     

    Fast Fact: By recycling, the  steel industry saves a lot of energy -……..enough to power 18 million households for  a whole year!

     

     

    a pie chart  showing the steel exports from canada

    Information for this blog was collected from::

    http://youcallwehaul.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/did-you-know-10-facts-about-steel/

    http://www.steel.org/~/media/Files/AISI/Fact%20Sheets/50_Fun_Facts_About_Steel.pdf

    http://canadiansteel.ca/steel-facts/