Characteristic properties and recyclability of the aluminium fraction of MSWI bottom ash
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The increasing use of aluminimum in packaging applications results in many different aluminium-based products ending up in consumer mixed-waste bins. This waste is typically incinerated, generating an aluminium-containing bottom ash. The current work investigates the recyclability of the aluminium fraction in the bottom ash from waste incineration plants in the USA, UK and Denmark. Incinerated Al-samples from different size fractions (2–6 mm, 6–12 mm and 12–30 mm) were characterized in terms of inherent oxide thickness, re-melting yield/coagulation and composition. The measured average oxide thickness on Al particles was 68 µm (SD=100), with the metal yield and coagulation efficiency measured to between 76 and 92% and 87–99% respectively. Larger particle size fractions resulted in a higher metal yield due to their higher mass to surface ratio. A simplified model correlating metal yield and particle size was proposed. The aluminium content of the melted material was determined to between 95.6 and 98.5% with main impurities being Fe, Si, Mn, Zn, Mg and Cu, corresponding to major aluminium alloying elements and waste charge components.