Aluminum scrap in electrical engineering and packaging

Sources of aluminum scrap

The main sources of industry for the processing of aluminum scrap in developed industrial countries are:

  • construction;
  • transport;
  • household and sporting goods;
  • electrical industry;
  • food packaging.

Electrical Aluminum Scrap

Electric cables account for a large share of aluminum scrap from the electrical industry.. Alloys are traditionally used for the manufacture of cables 1350 and 6201, and for electric buses and other large conductors, an aluminum alloy is often used 6101.

Recently, they often began to use alloys of the 8xxx series for the manufacture of electric cables, such as 8017 and 8176, which have increased resistance to creep. However, their use is limited to, that they cannot be used for subsequent processing into 1xxx series alloys. A small number of cast aluminum alloys of the 1xxx series are also used in the electrical industry..

Impurities in electrical scrap

Potential sources of impurities and contamination in electrical products are:

  • steel wire from steel-reinforced cables;
  • copper wire, mixed with aluminum wires;
  • plastics, which are used to insulate wires and cables;
  • copper-plated aluminum wires.

Packing aluminum scrap

The use of aluminum in food packaging is divided into two subcategories: rigid containers (jars) and foil. Aluminum cans for soft drinks - in short: aluminum beer cans - began to be used in the USA in 1959 year. Two decades later, aluminum cans dominated the packaging of soft drinks and beer.

Although some competition with plastic and glass bottles still remains, they say, what the average american consumes about 350 aluminum cans per year. This situation is facilitated by the exceptional ability of aluminum to be recycled again into aluminum..

Aluminum scrap beer cans

Typical aluminum can made of two aluminum alloys:

  • Bank body - 83 % total weight – made of alloy 3004.
  • Lid and "opener" (17 %) are made from a more durable aluminum alloy 5182.

Processing a mixture of these alloys is a problem, since a simple remelting of them gives an alloy, which contains too much magnesium, to apply it as an alloy 3004, and too much manganese, what to consider it an alloy 5182. As a result, this melt is usually diluted with primary aluminum or low alloy scrap., to get alloys, suitable for making beer cans.

Aluminum can manufacturers are trying to develop such an aluminum alloy, which could be used for manufacturing, like a can body, and its covers with an “opener”. This would allow truly direct processing of such an alloy..

Aluminum soft pack

Packaging aluminum scrap includes:

  • soft containers, trays and disposable containers for drinks.

Aluminum strip and aluminium foil, which is used for packaging in the form of soft containers, trays and disposable beverage containers, usually made of aluminum alloys 1xxx or 8011. However, such packaging is composite and contains a large amount of paper and plastic., which must be separated from thin aluminum foil before being sent for remelting. Therefore, the cost of processing such "scrap" is excessively high and it is almost never applied..

Aluminum Scrap Contaminants

Pollutants, which are characteristic of packaging scrap include, including:

  • paper and plastic;
  • steel cans among aluminum ones;
  • stones, mud, sand and glass;
  • organic coatings and paints on the surface of cans;
  • excessive moisture.

A source: Mark E. Schlesinger, Aluminum Recycling, 2011