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Aluminum Recycling: Adding Value by Analysis

Recycling aluminum alloys provides financial and environmental benefits that have created a major global industry. These alloys can be reprocessed many times over with minimal energy consumption thereby creating huge cost and environmental benefits.

Today however, many specialized aluminum alloys have been developed for applications in the aviation and automotive industries. These alloys command premium prices but to identify them properly requires very careful analysis. To maximize profitability, recyclers must carefully identify these incoming materials and separate the alloy grades before processing. Laboratory-based elemental analysis is sometimes necessary but can involve time delays and additional costs.

Fortunately a new generation of handheld, portable, and mobile analyzers can handle the necessary analyses on site. This paper describes three instruments — the SPECTRO xSORT handheld XRF metal analyzer, the SPECTROTEST mobile OES analyzer, and the SPECTROPORT portable OES analyzer — and explains benefits and limitations of each for analyzing aluminum alloys.

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