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Vladimir Ivanovich Kirillov
Prolific User
Username: soviet

Post Number: 1664
Registered: 02-2013
Posted on Tuesday, 01 October, 2019 - 12:57:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

The government here will pay 10c for every returned used can. Well the government can get stuffed.

I have an unlimited supply of used beer cans from my town because everybody including the tourists and visiting road workers likes to get blasted out of there minds. Responsible service of alcohol just does not happen in my town and short of putting your head through the wall at the pub they will keep serving you as long as you can pay.

So looked up the net about making things like balustrades from melted aluminium cans and it appears this is possible and you can get all of the impurities out of the melted metal.

Has anybody else tried this?
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David Gore
Moderator
Username: david_gore

Post Number: 3467
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Tuesday, 01 October, 2019 - 16:24:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

One of my University Metallurgy classmates was in charge of the Comalco Aluminium Remelt Department at Yennora in Sydney where they melted and recast the Aluminium cans collected by the Scouts and other youth groups "Cash-A-Can" collection centres. Due to contamination from other metals especially lead sinkers pushed into the cans to increase their weight [payment was based on weighing the cans], the recycled metal mainly ended up as foundry alloys as these had less stringent limits on contaminating elements. The remelt plant had X-ray equipment to divert heavily contaminated deliveries however there were inevitable instances where small amounts of contaminants would pass through to the remelt furnaces and eventually into the finished castings.

Vladimir, the lesson to be learnt here is to pay for the scrap by volume rather than weight so there is no incentive to add contaminating material.

From my own experience in the steel industry in the late-1960's where we paid higher prices for alloy and stainless steel scrap for remelting in our electric arc furnaces; every scrap truck that came across the weighbridge left a trail of water behind as the "scrappies" would hose down the load on the truck after loading to add weight and a significant volume of the added water would leak out during the drive to our weighbridge and especially when the load was tipped in the plant scrap yard. I am certain the plant weighbridge had a standard deduction applied to each load to cover the water content.

Old drums and refrigerator shells were very effective water carriers however these were potentially lethal items if back-charged into a furnace containing molten metal as the water would dissociate into Hydrogen and Oxygen forming an explosive gas mixture in the furnace. I was present when this happened one afternoon shift and despite wearing full protective clothing, spats, gloves, face and neck shields attached to my safety helmet and running the fastest 100 yard sprint in my life, I carry two burn marks on the back of my neck where the molten metal projectiles from the explosion found the only section of bare skin between the coat collar/neck shield and my safety helmet exposed because I had my head down watching for objects on the plant floor that would impede my escape.

Today's OH&S regulations have significantly reduced this type of problem through more stringent work practices and scrap preparation for furnace charging. For your own protection, keep in mind the sticker I used to see on the Wollongong coal mine bath house mirrors in the 1980's - "The person you see is responsible for your safety".

There has never been a better way of reminding everyone of the importance of working safely at all times especially in occupations that carry a high risk of injury.
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Trevor Hodgekinson
Experienced User
Username: wm20

Post Number: 72
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Tuesday, 01 October, 2019 - 23:42:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

It is a lot harder than you would think Vlad.
Cans are Al-Mg-Mn
Aluminium casting alloys are Al-Si
You can live with the Mn but the Mg has to go
We bubble chlorine gas through the melt via a pump ( made of graphite ) to remove the Mg.
In a home set up you will have to chemically remove the Mg which will be rather expensive.
You can only refine a pot of molten metal by removing the elements that are more reactive than the base metal and as aluminium is right up the top there are not many impurities that you can remove without taking a goodly lump of the melt with it.
Recovery rates from melting cans is quite poor as the paint on the outside & plastic coating on the inside will readily burn taking near 1/2 the aluminium with it.
\The solution is to plunge the cans under the melt which is fraught with dangers due to water explosions from the tiny amounts of drink still inside the can.
The unless you are using a titanium plunger, then the plunger itself will dissolve into the aluminium and if it is steel then you will quickly get way too much iron in the melt.
There is no way to remove iron apart from dilution and a very small amount of iron will form iron silicide ( well silicides there are few of them ) these a really really hard & brittle.
They make machining the casting impossible and in thin sections can make the castings very brittle and hot short so the casting break apart while still in the mould.
At Sims we had exactly the same problem as Dave's mate at Comalco with steel washers in the cans and all that could be done was to add wire to the melt which meant that you had 6 tons of molten metal that cost you more to make than you could sell the ingots for.
Lead washers were even worse as the lead does not burn off as it should and is insoluiable in aluminium so it sits on the bottom of the furnace, gets under the bricks then either floats the floor off or just conducts heat to the steel superstructure causing it to buckle.
A lot of what we melted ended up as aluminium shot which is used to scavenge some steel & iron castings but most ended up in weight bags because lead had become the devils metal.
Add to that the scrap value of a can is around 1¢.
The recycling value is 10¢ so it becomes a no brainer.
If you really want to play with aluminium casting, then make things easy for yourself and start with castings like lawn mower bases or alloy heads.
Heads are cheap because of all of the steel in them ( valve guides & seats , broken studs etc ) and they have their own special buying & selling rates.
Scrap from a motorcycle wrecker is also a good source of fairly clean, or easily cleaned alloy, fork legs, wheels etc.
And to top this off the melting flux is a roughly 50:50 mix of Sodium Chloride & potassium chloride which will scavenge hydrogen from the melt forming HCl, as if molten chlorides were not corrosive enough all by themselves.
For some reason I could never work out we added about 20% potassium nitrate to the mixed chlorides but I would suggest against trying to buy some sacks of potassium nitrate unless you want the shinny boots to come kicking your front door down at 2am.
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Trevor Hodgekinson
Experienced User
Username: wm20

Post Number: 73
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Tuesday, 01 October, 2019 - 23:54:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

And yes David, the wet scrap was always a problem.
It never failed to amaze just how hard it is to dry scrap.
The other fun thing was to see just how many scrappies had very well trained dogs that sat on the tray on the way in but walked out the gate, then of course there was mum & a couple of kids.
the weighbridge had a log book with approximate weights so if a falcon ute came in with cans then we knew roughly what the gross weight should be, so if it was a tad heavy we inspected the vehicle for occupants & wrote that on the docket.
Occasionally they got away with a dogs worth but mum & the kids did not cut it.
Similar with the "cash a can" trailers, they took a ton of uncrushed cans or 2 ton of crushed cans if "Dorothy" was used to fill it.
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David Gore
Moderator
Username: david_gore

Post Number: 3469
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Wednesday, 02 October, 2019 - 06:54:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Trevor,

Thanks for the additional information from your experience with non-ferrous remelting. My knowledge in this area is essentially nothing other than basic furnace/foundry practice.

As far as the scrap suppliers are concerned, they are a classic case of human ingenuity and deceit with the intent of lining their pockets with more cash than they were entitled to..........

Metal smelting/remelting is fraught with safety issues and dangers as we both experienced with serious and sometimes fatal consequences whenever someone tries a "short cut" or ignores standard safe working practice.
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Vladimir Ivanovich Kirillov
Prolific User
Username: soviet

Post Number: 1665
Registered: 02-2013
Posted on Wednesday, 02 October, 2019 - 08:23:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

David and Trevor thanks for your posts on this matter.

I decided that the beer can melt down was just another crazy idea I somehow got.

My next recycling caper is gather up politicians and media monguls and put them through the wood chipper and then after cutting the tops of used but uncrushed aluminium beer cans put the juicy product into the cans and seal the can with a resealable plastic sandwich bag marking the outside of the bag " dog AND cat food"

What would be your metallurgical concerns of my second idea apart from nominating me for the Nobel Peace Prize?
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David Gore
Moderator
Username: david_gore

Post Number: 3470
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Wednesday, 02 October, 2019 - 08:36:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Vladimir,

Do your marketing research to be sure there is a demand for the finished product........

Any well-informed dog or cat would find the contents inedible IMHO.
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Trevor Hodgekinson
Experienced User
Username: wm20

Post Number: 74
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 02 October, 2019 - 09:47:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Unfortunately a thing called You Tube was invented.
This provided a platform for every brain dead idiot moron to infect the cerebal tissue of the population at large.
I did make the mistake of correcting one once in the comments and I am still getting abuse for doing it.
It was my fault.
As a person trained in the sciences I should have known better than to interfear with the process of natural selection so if brain dead idiots want to inspire similar brain dead idiots to seriously injure themselves then let them do it.
Remelting aluminium cans was is and always will be con job.
It was never profitable to do in the past and will never be profitable to do in the future, it just makes the end user fell less guilty for squandering a non renewable resource.
The financials happened at pay levels way above mine but there was a lot of government money being poured into it .
This was particularly notiable when commands came down from HO that we HAD to melt "X" tons of cans before the end of the month and in many cases there was not "X" tons in the yard.
On the videos you see some smuck popping cans into a cruicble and they just vanish before your eyes.
The cost of the fuel being used to melt them is about the same as the cost of aluminium recovered. We used bunker oil which was the cheapest fuel available and from memory got a subisidy for using it as well which made it even cheaper.
Sims was CIG's biggest gas customer so the 5 ton oxygen bottle was provided , serviced & refilled free, all we paid for was the actual volume of gas , Same story for the chlorine.
The You tubers also stand there breathing in the extremely toxic gasses that come off from the burning paint which apart from the organics usually contain HCl & HF neither of which should be breathed in.
The steel can recycling was also a scam AFAIK as used steel cans are even harder to recycle that aluminium cans due to contamination from the lead and in particular the tin plating which is poison to every iron & steel melt except malleable iron.
The ruhmour was that the steel cans were just sent to landfill.
At one time we used to toss some of them them in with the steel shreds ( lowest value scrap ) that was sent to Indonesia.
The only domestic used metals that are profitable to recycle are copper based alloys & lead. Nothing else that you buy & take home can be profitably be recycled and this is because virgin materials are way too cheap.
Process scrap is a different matter because you know what it is and it is generally clean
In the meantime, collect the cans and take them to the collection center that adjoins a servo so you can convert them into free fuel.
Just remember not to flatten or crush them because the machine weighs the cans, checks them for steel and I think they put a MR in there as well to check for other metals.
I mow about 1.5 km of street frontage and now the mowing pays for itself as the average recycle is about $ 8.00 per mow.
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Vladimir Ivanovich Kirillov
Prolific User
Username: soviet

Post Number: 1666
Registered: 02-2013
Posted on Wednesday, 02 October, 2019 - 11:08:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Trevor I do value your scientific input very much.

I did want to pursue a career in science but most of my childhood involved being raised by a evil rich but thoroughly stupid woman who had a blinding hatred towards science itself and so about a decade after I got away from Davos I did two law degrees just to disprove her dogma that I was not as dumb as her.

Thanks to the efforts of you and David I will not be sprayed or splashed with a molten form of melted aluminium beer cans.

Now as to recycling these cans for 10c a can I see a problem. Firstly, the nearest recycler is 126k away and while carting crushed beer cans may be a break even or slight profit scenario, carting uncrushed cans is a sentence of impending financial doom to say the least.

The first recycler vanished after telling me crushed cans were acceptable. Then talking to the next recycler I was told crushed cans could not be accepted.

Some how I came to the conclusion that the entire recycling caper here in Queensland had all the Hallmarks of yet another governmental stuff up.

But I can promise you this: If crushed cans are not acceptable for the 10c per can refund then no cans from my town will be getting recycled.

No they will simply join a growing mass of cans dumped 1/3 up the mountain here at the Whitsundays Council rubbish tip and an equal amount will be tossed into the surrounding bush by incurable littering personages who simply do not have the same appreciation of Australian bushland that I have.

How sad was is it that people would put in lead weights or water their loads to get that dishonest extra buck.

Apart from that surely if I recycle politicians and media monguls into dog and cat food using uncrushed beer cans as the vessel, then provided no dog nor cat is actually told the source of the ingredients I can still see a profitable Buck in the caper.
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ross kowalski
Prolific User
Username: cdfpw

Post Number: 1244
Registered: 11-2015
Posted on Wednesday, 02 October, 2019 - 11:14:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Vlad,

Alumninum melts super easy and I wouldn't worry too much about contamination for non structural applications.

You make up a stainless steel crucible and pour away. If you have a decent reducing environment in the furnace and decent SS for the crucible you will be able to cast hundreds of pounds of AL.

But melting cans for aluminum is nuts unless you have an unlimited source of fuel and time.
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Patrick Ryan
Grand Master
Username: patrick_r

Post Number: 2157
Registered: 04-2016
Posted on Thursday, 03 October, 2019 - 10:53:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Vlad,
If there are so many cans available.
Go get 10c a can!

At present in Sydney, cans are 90c a kilo at the local recycling depot (which has not received any cans at all since the earn & return scheme has started)
That’s about 2 garbage bags full of crushed cans.
Those same 2 garbage bags (bear in mind they have to be un crushed so the machines can identify them) will yield around
$10 - $15
With the amount you have available, this is a licence to print money, and fund your ingredients for your “Vlad Brew” you have going
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David Gore
Moderator
Username: david_gore

Post Number: 3471
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Thursday, 03 October, 2019 - 17:31:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Patrick,

I think an even better solution for Vladimir would be recycled "twist top" soft drink bottles [e.g. Aldi Burandy Ginger Beer] as the caps are reusable after breaking the tamper seal.

The bottles only need to be washed and then immersed in home brew sodium metabisulphite solution to sterilise them before repurposing them for the real thing. There is a side benefit as well as the caps will allow excess pressure to vent before the bottles explode if too much sugar is added to the brew before bottling [been there - done that with home brew ginger beer].

https://www.ibrew.com.au/products/sodium-metabisulphite

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Patrick Ryan
Grand Master
Username: patrick_r

Post Number: 2159
Registered: 04-2016
Posted on Thursday, 03 October, 2019 - 17:38:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Excellent point David.

Vlad is literally sitting on a gold mine!
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Trevor Hodgekinson
Experienced User
Username: wm20

Post Number: 75
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Friday, 04 October, 2019 - 11:29:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Clean dry cans go around 10 g or 100 to the kg if you like.
They will vary a bit due to the ring pulls
The 10¢ is of course a refund as the purchaser paid the extra 10¢ when they bought the can full.
The original idea was to have a mini bailing press in the recycling machine,a bit like an Elephants Foot for cardboard so the deposit machines could hold a few ton but that made the machines "too expensive " to build & operate, remember where ever they are stationed, the retailer pays for the power.
So now they hold about 1/2 ton of cans which makes collecting the cans uneconomic unless this cost is off set against the cost of removing them from the road side and of course collecting & sorting road side bins.
The PET bottles is of course a different matter as they are profitable , but you have to remove the caps because they are a contaminate so they can not be bailed on site.
And of curse the bottles are a loss maker start to finish, way too cheap to mine & melt sand
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Trevor Hodgekinson
Experienced User
Username: wm20

Post Number: 76
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Friday, 04 October, 2019 - 11:46:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

And Vlad.
A point to remember
Albert G Sims, the founder os Simsmetal which at one time was just inside the top 200 Australian companies, was a man who left school at 14, pushed a scrap barrow bear foot and ran the scrap from his parents property.
He found out what the local foundries actually wanted and sorted the scrap top suit his customers which was the first 1/2 to the key of success that Peko-Wallsend broke off in the vault lock.

The other 1/2 was understanding that scrap was a cyclic business so if you reduced your outgoings you could afford to pay a better price for quality scrap when times were slow thus when demand picked up you had a lot of premium product ready to sell.
This uneducated man also managed to do what Phd graduates can not do now days as he diversified as widely as he could so when there was no demand for scrap, he still had a cash flow.
Now days apparently all big businesses have to be parred back to their "core business" to be run efficiently and even then 75% of that has to be contracted out, because it is beyond the capacity of the graduates to get on top of more than one sector.
Also because he was not a government hating politically motovated accountant he could do things like actually buy the land his businesses stood on thus in the bad times all he had to find was land tax which is about 5% of what rent costs his competitors who paid a lot less tax so were obviously more successful businesses till they went bust trying to pay rent after which he bought them for peanuts.
So here is your big chance for world domination and it could all start for a 10¢ can
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David Gore
Moderator
Username: david_gore

Post Number: 3472
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Friday, 04 October, 2019 - 12:49:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Trevor,

How true - I remember many similar successful businesses operating in the 1970/1980 era before MBA's became mandatory qualifications for executive positions and the decline of Australian employment generating [as opposed to "paper shuffling"] business began in earnest. My father was a bank senior branch manager in Sydney who saw what was happening in the bank's management and "voted with his feet" as experienced managers were "encouraged" to leave to be replaced by the new "whiz kids" with paper qualifications and no actual banking experience.

History tells the rest of the story leading up to the findings of the recent Bank Royal Commission which repeatedly proved his predictions of the future problems that were inevitable as [in his words] they had lots of theory but no experience in the real world.

Mindful of my father's words, I spent close to a decade working in the real business world whilst gaining my post-graduate management/marketing qualifications as a part-time student with a full-time day job that exposed me to many different businesses [most successful and some less so] where I could learn from both their successes and mistakes.
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Trevor Hodgekinson
Experienced User
Username: wm20

Post Number: 77
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Saturday, 05 October, 2019 - 09:53:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Yes the almost off/on change in the 80's was flabbergasting
Suddenly a "good" deal was one that sent the other party to the wall.
managers invented all sorts of performance indicies in order to justify increasing bonuses yet very few actually made a difference to actual profit ,
By the mid 80's I was out of manufacturing & into transport where I remained till now that I have "retired" into mower repairs.
Executive greed was amazing.
particularly in the finance sector & it will not change until bonuses are replaced with proper profit sharing along the lines of Foseco or Lincon Electric two businesses that you should be familiar with.
I had regular bookings to take some Rugby enthusiasts to the games in the roller as no one ever questions a roller driver in a monkey suit.
One was a heart surgeon the other two were in insurance at a middle management level.
Both of their bonuses were nearly double the wage of the surgeon and there was a dozen levels of management above them making even bigger bonuses.
My standard joke was as their bonus was a percentage of the value of the paper that passed over their desks, I should charge then double rates because of the value of the "freight" that passed through the shadow.
When it comes to bank managers, I did a stint with Pro-Call a process serving branch of Mail Call.
There were 3 branches of the same bank on the books of the solicitor and the amount of money loaned out to shonks was mind boggeling, particularly when it was for illegal developements on land that the borrower did not have title to and the exact same loans were made to the same shonks from all 3 banks
The worst one involved at least 3 of the major banks and at least 20 branches from all of them and the actual amount of money was in the hundreds of billions when all added up.
Now of course as the finance was a line of credit the thief naturally did not get all of that money but they would have gotten away with several billion. I know this because when trying to serve papers I bumped into dozens of other commercial sub agents acting on behalf of other banks & financial institutions.
all the sadder when I looked back at all of the quite good businesses I had been involved with that failed because of lack of access to reasonably small amounts of finance.
Any way that is all part of history and while it is repeating itself it has little direct consequences on me now as I have no money so managers miss managing it is not of concern.

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