Easy recycling of stainless steel and steel

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Steel and stainless steel are some of the most widely used building materials. Furthermore, recycling stainless steel is very economical. This favors a large industry for the collection and recycling of steel products.

Recycling steel from scrap

Iron ores and the alloying elements make normal steel and stainless steel harder. They’re pretty common and can guarantee low prices. Thanks to its good properties, such as its weight ratio, stainless steel is an ideal building material. However, it is not only suitable for erecting structural parts or vehicle chassis. The combination of durability, malleability and connectivity by means of various mechanical processes favors the manufacture of a large number of other products.

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Stainless steel and maximum value recycling

The recycling of structural steel brings a good economic yield. But this can still be increased when it comes to recycling steel and its mix of rare alloying elements. Stainless steel can contain different proportions of chromium, nickel, molybdenum and niobium. Along with these, non-metallic components such as carbon and nitrogen are usually also present in stainless steel. It’s worth winning back.

Structural steels are exposed to oxidation. However, they do not suffer from the problems that aluminum and other light metals with high oxygen affinity have. As a result, steels can be fused directly in the air. This makes recycling an uncomplicated matter. This possibility of simply collecting scrap, melting it down and turning it back into a raw material is very cost-effective. Using this production method, the steel industry produced over forty percent of the total production volume of 1,600 million tons worldwide in 2015.

Criteria for recycling stainless steel

In theory, all steel and stainless steel scrap is recyclable. But the truth is, there is a limit to the amount that can actually and economically be recycled. Steel products are associated with many other materials such as concrete. Separating the non-material components is often difficult and would therefore not be economically viable. The cost of mining ore is the driving factor in the production of new steel. In addition, the raw material market defines the price per ton of steel. Should the total price of steel on the market rise again, recycling stainless steel will become more economical again.

Melting steel for recycling

The situation with stainless steel is more complex as it has a higher inherent value relative to structural steels. In general, stainless steels are used where they can be separated more easily, for example in sinks, kitchen appliances, dishes, tools and workshop scrap. Because of this, approximately eighty to ninety percent of stainless steel is successfully recycled. You can easily analyze the melt chemistry and thus adapt and reproduce the final material.

Easy recycling of stainless steel

Steel mills melt once cleaned steel and stainless steel scrap directly in a facility such as an electric furnace. The melt is then sent to further processing in order to remove excess carbon and nitrogen. Then the material is dumped again at a scooping station to carry out the final metallurgical changes to the material chemistry. After all, it is usually poured into bars and slabs for later processing.

Once formed into an ingot, the material can be processed into sheet metal or hot-rolled profiles. This creates new products that are shipped. This ease of recycling is causing industry to adopt and apply this practice. This reduces waste to landfills and, in general, the global demand for new raw materials. The last point has a special meaning, because the mining of iron ores is both energy consuming and destructive.

Recycling of steel scrap

The recycling of stainless steel is a suitable and inexpensive method of material production. It is surprisingly easy to implement in an endless loop. As natural resources dwindle, scrap steel and stainless steel recycling offers a safe source of raw materials. It ensures that the important resources do not run out.

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