CSIRO finds a way to get more out of old cars

January 31, 2005

CSIRO Minerals has found a way to reduce waste from car recycling, recycle materials that are currently thrown away, and make the end waste less harmful for disposal.

In the age of environmental responsibility, old cars no longer rust away disgracefully, overgrown by weeds in remote country paddocks. Today they disappear into the jaws of huge shredding machines in metal recycling plants, along with broken washing machines, refrigerators and other metal wastes.

The recycling plants recover the bigger bits of metal, but produce large amounts of difficult sludge that is usually sent to landfill. Along with lots of water the sludge contains a mess of small bits of steel, copper, brass, solder and aluminium, mixed with vinyl and other plastics, synthetic fibres, fabric, rubber, glass, quartz and wood.

CSIRO Minerals' Warren Bruckard turned to minerals processing techniques for ideas to tackle the sludge. His team carefully analysed the sludge physically and chemically.

"We found every tonne of dry sludge contained about 3.1kg of recoverable copper and about 33kg of clean steel," says Mr Bruckard.

"While it's good to recycle as much as we can, the recovered materials are fairly low in value and so any process we develop needs to be simple and cheap."

The method developed involves using a sorting process to remove plastic, rubber and other low-density, non-metallic stuff, then magnetic separation to recover clean steel, and finally a gravity technique to separate low-density materials like glass from high-density metals like copper, lead and brass.
The full story can be found in the February issue of Process, available at http://www.minerals.csiro.au/processfeb05.

Other stories in Process include:

  • Waste not, smelt lots: Minerals and forestry scientists are proposing to use cardboard, agricultural, biosolid and forestry waste to fuel metal making.
  • Salvaging lead from old batteries: CSIRO Minerals is working with a secondary lead smelter to recover valuable lead from battery waste.
  • Recovering aluminium from waste: Researchers have developed methods to recover aluminium metal from smelting waste, increasing process yields and reducing the volume and toxicity of the waste products.
  • Turning trash into treasure: A tailor-made solvent extraction technology will help produce high-value, high-quality electrolytic manganese dioxide for the alkaline battery market from ore waste. Process is CSIRO's magazine of mineral processing and metal production.

    * Please identify Process as the source of any stories used.

    For more information on Process please contact:

    Meg Rive, Editor
    +61 03 9545 8614
    +61 0438 007 301

    CSIRO Australia

    Related Glass Articles from Brightsurf:

    Glass tables can cause life-threatening injuries
    Faulty glass in tables can cause life-threatening injuries, according to a Rutgers study, which provides evidence that stricter federal regulations are needed to protect consumers.

    The nature of glass-forming liquids is more clear
    Researchers from The University of Tokyo have found that attractive and repulsive interactions between particles are both essential to form structural order that controls the dynamics of glass-forming liquids.

    Experimental study of how 'metallic glass' forms challenges paradigm in glass research
    Unlike in a crystal, the atoms in a metallic glass are not ordered when the liquid solidifies.

    On-demand glass is right around the corner
    A research group coordinated by physicists of the University of Trento was able to probe internal stress in colloidal glasses, a crucial step to control the mechanical properties of glasses.

    Glass from a 3D printer
    ETH researchers used a 3D printing process to produce complex and highly porous glass objects.

    Making glass more clear
    Northwestern University researchers have developed an algorithm that makes it possible to design glassy materials with dynamic properties and predict their continually changing behaviors.

    Researchers use 3D printer to print glass
    For the first time, researchers have successfully 3D printed chalcogenide glass, a unique material used to make optical components that operate at mid-infrared wavelengths.

    New family of glass good for lenses
    A new composition of germanosilicate glass created by adding zinc oxide has properties good for lens applications, according to Penn State researchers.

    In-depth insights into glass corrosion
    Silicate glass has many applications, including the use as a nuclear waste form to immobilize radioactive elements from spent fuel.

    New research questions the 'Glass Cliff' and corroborates the persistent 'Glass Ceiling'
    Are women more likely to be appointed to leadership positions in crisis situations when companies are struggling with declining profits?

    Read More: Glass News and Glass Current Events
  • Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.