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Is Iron / Steel endlessly recyclable ?

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Kevin Murrell15/07/2020 14:02:24
33 forum posts
2 photos

Looking at the swarf on the workshop floor made me think about the above?

Given it could be melted down, could it be reused? Think more of industrial waster than my pile of chips!

Would this apply to cast iron, steel, all the usual forms.

K.

John Haine15/07/2020 14:14:16
3172 forum posts
171 photos

Yes of course. Iron is an element, short of a stellar core nothing can change its nature. Whether it is economic to recycle is another question.

Thor15/07/2020 14:18:57
1236 forum posts
37 photos

Hi Kevin,

As John says, iron can be recycled and used again. The small amount of swarf I produce in my workshop ends up in the skip of a nearby Milling, Turning and Welding shop and is recycled to rebar or nails etc.

Thor

Keith Wyles15/07/2020 14:26:58
33 forum posts

Iron is not the top priority for recycling as a common element, but still not a reason for not doing so.

Roderick Jenkins15/07/2020 15:00:48
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1896 forum posts
489 photos

Most steel is made by blending a mixture of scrap and iron from a blast furnace. I empty my workshop scrap bin into the metal skip at my local recycling cente.

Rod

Brian H15/07/2020 15:17:29
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1675 forum posts
109 photos

The club I'm in collects all sorts of scrap metal donated by members including turnings and sell them to a local scrapman. Last year it made around £800 for club funds.

Brian

William Chitham15/07/2020 15:24:29
44 forum posts
14 photos
Posted by Roderick Jenkins on 15/07/2020 15:00:48:

Most steel is made by blending a mixture of scrap and iron from a blast furnace. I empty my workshop scrap bin into the metal skip at my local recycling cente.

Rod

Does it matter if you mix up ferrous and aluminium?

Adrian R215/07/2020 16:03:52
23 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by William Chitham on 15/07/2020 15:24:29:

Does it matter if you mix up ferrous and aluminium?

Not if you are just dumping it in a "metal" skip. If you intend to sell it you will get more money for separates.

Oven Man15/07/2020 16:22:48
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59 forum posts
6 photos
Posted by William Chitham on 15/07/2020 15:24:29:
Posted by Roderick Jenkins on 15/07/2020 15:00:48:

Most steel is made by blending a mixture of scrap and iron from a blast furnace. I empty my workshop scrap bin into the metal skip at my local recycling cente.

Rod

Does it matter if you mix up ferrous and aluminium?

At work and at the local recycling centre there are separate bins for ferrous and non ferrous scrap. There is a huge different in even the scrap value. You are unlikely to recover the cost of the petrol taking steel to a scrap merchant, but other materials can certainly raise enough money for a good night out. Don't think aluminium is very high but lead and copper certainly are.

Peter

Harry Wilkes15/07/2020 16:22:57
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926 forum posts
61 photos
Posted by William Chitham on 15/07/2020 15:24:29:
Posted by Roderick Jenkins on 15/07/2020 15:00:48:

Most steel is made by blending a mixture of scrap and iron from a blast furnace. I empty my workshop scrap bin into the metal skip at my local recycling center.

Rod

Does it matter if you mix up ferrous and aluminium?

Rod is spot on I worked in a steel works for just over 18 years the scrap which when to the furnaces was loaded by a magnet on a cranes so a lot of the none ferrous material was not 'picked up' however a proportion di find it's way into the melt in the way of old fashioned starters/ dynamos and aluminum trim that may have been attached to say a car part.

H

JA15/07/2020 17:52:40
936 forum posts
51 photos

There is scrap steel and then there is scrap steel.

Much scrap steel is rubbish, old cars and such like, and contained metals, such as copper and zinc, that are “poisons”. Then there is good scrap such as ships hulls. Then there is very good valuable steel scrap of known providence. Such scrap usually comes from within steel works or rolling mills etc.

When steel is made from blast furnace iron in a converter an awful lot of heat is produced. It is usual to stop the process half way and add scrap steel, good or rubbish, to cool everything down.

The really good scrap is kept for making high quality alloy steel in furnaces like an electric arc furnace. The higher the quality of steel, the higher quality of steel scrap required. This is known the rising scrap system.

The metal that is really desirable to recycle is copper. I believe the mining of 1950s and 60s rubbish tip for copper is seriously being considered.

JA

Edited By JA on 15/07/2020 17:55:14

ega15/07/2020 18:00:34
1749 forum posts
152 photos

What about the problem of contamination with cutting oil, etc?

duncan webster15/07/2020 18:07:50
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2650 forum posts
36 photos

I spoke to a metallurgist friend of mine (used to work in a steel works) about recycling iron railings. He reckons the 'unsuitable for making new steel' story is a porky put about by government to cover up incompetence. As long as you can get it molten any non metallic impurities float off with the slag. Things like copper, lead and tin which get mixed in with scrap do cause problems., but there wouldn't be an awful lot of those in pre 1940 railings

Bazyle15/07/2020 18:19:05
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5290 forum posts
201 photos

Genuine old victorian railings would be even more valuable to a blacksmith as wrought iron. Less the cast tops,

Neil Wyatt15/07/2020 18:59:43
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Moderator
17970 forum posts
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77 articles

Copper and lead pipe from old plumbing brings in the ££

Plus we have two leisure batteries and two big car batteries waiting for the recycler to reopen. A door knocker offered £12 just for the leisure batteries.

There are companies who offer to take them off your hands for free!

Neil

larry phelan 115/07/2020 20:03:32
767 forum posts
14 photos

A recent trip to my local scrap man to sell a few bags of copper scrap pipe and old brass fittings produced enough cash to fill my van with diesel on the way home plus a few bottles of wine !

Fair deal, I thought.smiley

Howard Lewis15/07/2020 21:04:42
3375 forum posts
2 photos

For many years, Wellworthy at Lymington used old railway chairs as the raw material for centrifugally cast cylinder liners. Quite an interesting process to watch!

Howard

SillyOldDuffer16/07/2020 10:33:16
5924 forum posts
1281 photos
Posted by JA on 15/07/2020 17:52:40:

There is scrap steel and then there is scrap steel.

Much scrap steel is rubbish, old cars and such like, and contained metals, such as copper and zinc, that are “poisons”. Then there is good scrap such as ships hulls. Then there is very good valuable steel scrap of known providence. Such scrap usually comes from within steel works or rolling mills etc.

...

JA

Since Bessemer's time steel-making has shifted to scientific principles, with chemistry to the fore. Steel isn't normally made by melting a pile of mixed scrap in a pot and hoping for the best - it doesn't sell well because it's too unpredictable. Modern steels are made to a specification, and most of it is spot on. Huge quantities - 1869.9 million tons in 2019.

The chemistry of steel and contaminants are well known, as are the techniques needed to remove them. As it takes a few minutes to analyse a melt in progress, steel-makers can make adjustments without fuss. Organic materials and light metals burn off while other metals are captured in slag by adding an appropriate flux. Pretty much any contamination apart from radioactivity can be managed, but separating scrap before bunging it in reduces the cost. As a furnace uses massive amounts of energy, it's not always the best way to remove muck. It pays to separate scrap first, and this is often an elaborate operation. Recovery of rare metals is an important side line.

High specification steels may have to be processed several times. They can be made from scratch, but it's often cheaper to recycle similar steels. For example, using old railway lines of similar specification to make new railway lines saves a lot of bother.

Industry consuming steel by the ton report fewer problems with it than Model Engineers, who seem to have constant bother with our tiny jobs. I suggest it's because Model Engineers are less certain of their materials than the professionals, and might also be burdened by skill gaps and haphazard tooling. I suggest poor results are usually down to using the wrong sort of steel and inexperience machining tricky materials - many steels don't machine well. Though some useful steels are no longer made, there's not much evidence that old steel is higher quality than modern steel, and plenty suggesting the opposite. Lord Nuffield's comments on British Steel makers before WW2 are blunt!

Dave

JA16/07/2020 12:52:44
936 forum posts
51 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 16/07/2020 10:33:16:

Since Bessemer's time steel-making has shifted to scientific principles, with chemistry to the fore. Steel isn't normally made by melting a pile of mixed scrap in a pot and hoping for the best - it doesn't sell well because it's too unpredictable. Modern steels are made to a specification, and most of it is spot on. Huge quantities - 1869.9 million tons in 2019.

Dave

In the 1970s the price of ordinary steel scrap dropped below the cost of producing raw, blast furnace, iron. Quite a number of mini-steel works were set up world wide that used cheap scrap in an electric arc furnace. The resulting steel was rolled to produce concrete re-enforcing bar. One was next to the railway station at Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey. I suspect it has gone long ago.

JA

Phil McAvity23/07/2020 10:37:08
22 forum posts

Not Iron related but on the subject of scrap: Last year I took an old cat converter to the scrap yard, the first offered me £12 which I knew that was low so held on to it, the next offered £35 which I took, I asked how they establish the quality and was told that if it had the car manufacturers name on it then they took it, if not then they wouldn't be interested.

Edited By Phil McAvity on 23/07/2020 10:39:31

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