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Aluminum Recycling: Adding Value by Analysis

Recycling aluminum alloys provides both financial and environmental benefits that have led to the rise of a major global industry. Many specialized aluminum alloys have been developed for applications in the aviation and automotive industries and these alloys command premium prices, both as new material and scrap. It is therefore important for the recycler to accurately identify incoming material, and to separate different alloy grades before processing. This is best done by elemental analysis.

Laboratory-based elemental analysis is often not feasible or necessary. It can involve unacceptable delays and it’s always expensive. Fortunately, modern mobile and portable analyzers are available that can handle the necessary analyses on site. They provide accurate, positive material identification, even when used by non-specialist operators.

This paper describes two instruments from SPECTRO Analytical Instruments — the SPECTRO xSORT handheld analyzer and the SPECTROTEST mobile optical emission spectrometer — and explains their application for the analysis of aluminum alloys. The paper explains the technical issues that must be resolved and documents the results that these instruments can achieve for the recycler in terms of precision and time to results.

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