Steel scrap is crucial to industry because it is, by definition, recyclable. Steelmaking heavily depends on scrap as its raw material. Because of this it is highly important that the composition of steel scrap can be accurately determined. The Bruker S1 TITAN is an industry-leading, lightweight instrument for steel scrap analysis.
Recyclability sets steel scrap apart from waste. Steel can be made from ore, but it's more cost-effective, eco-friendly, and energy-efficient to use scrap.
In industrialized nations such as the US, the rate of steel scrap recycling is high. Steel recovery begins in scrapyards, where collected scrap is sorted and prepared for melting at steelworks. Separating steel from non-ferrous and non-metallic materials is straightforward as its magnetic properties means magnetic separation can be used.
Steel scrap primarily includes containers, cars, construction steel, cans, and appliances. Appliances, for example, consist of approximately 75% steel by weight. Steel recycling has been a profitable practice for over a century.
Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) incorporates about 30% steel scrap to create new steel, resulting in reduced residual elements. Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) steel uses 100% steel scrap but has a higher residual element content, yielding harder steel. Efficient sorting of steel scrap grades with a Bruker XRF steel scrap analyzer gun can help prevent downcycling as a result of impurities.
Recycling one metric ton (1,000 kilograms) of steel saves 1.1 metric tons of iron ore, 630 kilograms of coal, and 55 kilograms of limestone.
Steel analysis with handheld XRF has numerous industrial applications. One of the most important is the use of handheld XRF sorters in steel scrap testing in scrapyards. The various types of scrap used in steelmaking include:
Heavy Melting Steel Scrap - steel that is more than 6mm thick. This steel comes mostly from commercial sources, including scrap machinery and equipment as well as steel plates, beams, etc.
Pressing Steel Scrap - steel of no more than 6 mm thick, mostly from domestic sources, including “white goods” (washing machines, dryers, refrigerators), steel sheets and roofing steel.
Scrap Vehicles - with their interiors and wheels either in place or removed.
Cast Iron Scrap - including machinery, engine blocks, bathtubs, gates, and pipes.
Rebars and Mesh
Manganese Steel - hardened, nonmagnetic steel commonly used in mining and other kinds of machinery, such as cement mixers.
Brukers handheld XRF analyzers are widely used at collection sites, in scrapyards, and in labs to identify different alloys and their grades.