Stainless Steel Can Be Recycled
Steel alloy like stainless steel can also be recycled. Stainless steel in particular is a variant of steel that includes chromium and nickel in order to protect it from rust, corrosion, and the environment. Stainless steel is also known as inox steel, short for inoxidable, since it does not oxidate, or rust. Some of the main advantages of stainless steel include the fact that it resists very high temperatures and its strength. This makes stainless steel ideal for environments where there are severe conditions, both chemical or physical. For example, stainless steel is often used in the automotive industry and in construction. Its resistance to corrosion and flexibility have also made it a common material for household appliances and other kitchenware.
Stainless steel production has increased substantially, doubling in the last decade alone. More than 25 million tons of stainless steel are produced every year! Because of this, stainless steel recycling has become extremely important in maintaining the supply of this important material. There are various types of stainless steel which, apart from chromium and nickel, may also include tungsten, vanadium, titanium, or molybdenum. These materials are expensive, uncommon, and difficult to obtain, in particular because they are often found in only specific parts of the world which are often war torn or in economic difficulties. This means that stainless steel recycling has become an essential way of preserving our planet and preventing conflict centered around these types of raw materials.
Since many special allows like stainless steel look very similar, it is necessary to separate them and prepare them using spectrometry and other advanced technologies. Once separated, the recycling process is similar to iron and regular steel. The sorting process is important, and more difficult than with other ferrous metals because some types of stainless steel are not magnetic. Once the stainless steel has been sorted, it is baled (compacted into large blocks) and then sheared, or cut into smaller pieces. Using a variety of methods, such as electric currents, high pressure air, magnets, and liquid baths, the metal is separated from other material. Then it is melted and shaped into ingots, slabs, or rolled into sheets. One of the great things about stainless steel is that it is 100% recyclable, meaning that it does not lose anything in the recycling process.
Once recycled, the recovered stainless steel is often used in construction. This material is also ideal for storing and producing food because it is non-reactive. Stainless steel does not allow bacteria to form colonies, does not affect food's properties, and is easy to keep clean and sterile. These properties have also made stainless steel important in health care, with it being a primary component of most surgical instruments. By recycling one ton of steel, you save 1,100 kg of iron ore, 630 kg of coal, and 55 kg of limestone. Recycling of stainless steel has become so important that about 60% of any stainless steel objects is often made up of recycled materials and more than 90% of all discarded stainless steel is eventually recycled. Go here for more information.