Worcester Polytechnic Institute Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection

Title page for ETD etd-041714-211407

Document Typedissertation
Author NameYu, Hao
TitleMetal Recovery via Automated Sortation
DepartmentMaterials Science & Engineering
  • Diran Apelian, Advisor
  • Richard D. Sisson Jr., Committee Member
  • Makhlouf M. Makhlouf, Committee Member
  • Libo Wang, Committee Member
  • Keywords
  • DEM Simulation
  • Critical Metals
  • Feeding Technique
  • Scrap Recovery
  • Date of Presentation/Defense2013-10-09
    Availability unrestricted


    Each year, millions of tons of non-ferrous scrap metal are discarded in the US. This metal is wasted due to a lack of proper recovery methods. Recent developments in spectroscopic technology have made it possible to identify the waste composition of scrap metal in real-time. This has opened the door for high-speed automated metal sortation and recovery, especially for the recovery of high value precious metals, such as titanium, nickel, cobalt, molybdenum and tantalum.

    Automated sortation systems typically consist of three main phases: (i) Feeding of material, (ii) Composition identification, and (iii) Physical separation. Due to their low volume and industry fragmentation, high-strength precious metal chips usually come in the form of chips smaller than 10 mm. Therefore it is extremely difficult to feed metal chips individually into the sorting system.

    At CR3, a new feeding mechanism was invented and developed in order to provide single layer feeding of small metal chips. A laboratory-scale prototype was built and proven to be feasible, scalable and reliable. A model was developed to predict the output of feeding variables based on initial input parameters. An operation window of the process was also defined for various metal chip resources. These will be presented, reviewed and discussed in the following paper.

  • HaoYu.pdf

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