Application Brief

Analyzing light elements in aluminum alloys for improved scrap recycling

Alloys combining aluminum with metals such as copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, silicon, and lithium are used extensively in applications from aerospace, automotive, and construction to utensil manufacturing. This in turn requires aluminum recyclers to develop an efficient strategy to process hundreds of specialized aluminum alloys, each with different performance characteristics — and price points.

Handheld X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers have become the metal recycling industry’s instruments of choice for this application. But because many of today’s diverse aluminum alloys incorporate these light elements most handheld XRF analyzers have difficulty accurately measuring or identifying these alloys.

This application report documents the use of the new SPECTRO xSORT to analyze elements in a variety of recycling samples — even those incorporating the difficult-to-measure light elements aluminum, magnesium, and silicon. Test results, including limits of detection (LODs), and the time required to achieve results are reported.

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