Science is one of the driving forces of modern day society; every month we are starting to see the latest technological feats being unveiled, and companies are implementing newer strategies in the scientific field to dominate their industry.
However, sometimes it is great to use science to help other industries; we use our very own pieces of scientific equipment here at Morecambe Metals, so we will give you a rundown of what things we can do at our Morecambe-based site and the science behind it.
Eddy Current Separator – ECS
One of our pride and joys here at Morecambe Metals is our series of eddy current separators or ECS. An ECS is used to retrieve non-ferrous materials from residue that has passed through our 1250 horsepower metal shredding machine, or fragmentiser as it is sometimes referred to.
The operation of an ECS has a lot of physics behind it, so when it comes to creating a machine of this proportion, thoughtful attention must be considered. The idea behind an ECS is to remove non-ferrous metals that come from shredder residue, which greatly increases recycling rates. For example, if you wanted to remove aluminium or copper from rubber and plastic, then an ECS would give the best results.
To do this, an ECS includes a highly rotating magnet that is located inside a non-metallic drum and rotating at a different speed. The rotating magnet is the most important bit because magnets have a property associated with them known as magnetic flux, which is the amount of magnetic field that passes through a specific region.
When this flux changes rapidly, either due to a change in magnetic field strength or direction, this creates an electrical current around the flux. In this case, the rapidly rotating magnet induces an electrical current in between the magnet and the rotating drum.
After this, the electrical current is oriented in the opposite direction to the magnetic field, following a law known as Lenz’s law that was deduced by Heinrich Lenz in 1834. Because of this, all metallic objects are influenced by this electrical current.
However, a rotating electrical current can generate a magnetic field, but this will be in the opposite direction to the magnetic field of the rotating magnet, meaning that the non-ferrous metals are repelled from the magnet, therefore ejecting it from the ECS, leaving the plastic, rubber, and glass residue to pass through the conveyor belt.
Testing Special Alloys
At Morecambe Metals, we have a non-ferrous metal processing division which takes control of buying and processing various grades of non-ferrous metals, such as aluminium, stainless steel, copper, brass, and lead.
However, one of the processes that we can do besides from our common processes, such as mobile baling, shredding, and shearing, is to test any special alloys that you bring to us to provide you information regarding the material and what it contains, enabling you to get the best possible price for the material.
To test these alloys, we use a spectrometer, which is an instrument that is used to identify the amount and type of elements that are present within a certain sample. For example, if you were to give us an unknown alloy, we would be able to find out what type of alloy it is through the spectrometer.
There are various types of spectrometers that are available to use, but the one that we will be considering is a mass spectrometer; this is the one that can determine the type of element and the amount that is present.
Mass spectrometers work using three steps: ionisation, acceleration, deflection, and detection. Ionisation is when the alloy is ionised and produces ions in the form of a gas. This gas is then accelerated inside the spectrometer using electric fields. After this, the ions pass through a deflection zone, which consists of a magnetic field.
The deflection of an ion depends on the mass of the ion and its charge; the results are then combined to form the mass/charge ratio. This number is incredibly important, as it is used to determine the type of element within the alloy, as well as calculating the amount of that element.
By using this equipment, scrap metal processing companies can determine the quality of an unknown alloy so that it can be distributed effectively.
This is just some of the science-based equipment that we use at Morecambe Metals, and it enables us to retrieve the highest quality materials after the scrap metal has been processed.
If you need to recycle any of your unwanted scrap metal, or you need assistance in clearing a demolition site, then we are more than happy to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 01524 69191; we will be more than happy to help with any enquiries you may have.