Steel Scrap Testing

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How is it possible to determine the analysis of a scrap pile without consuming the entire pile?  By applying best possible sampling practices, experienced McCreath field personnel can take a representative sample of a material for testing.  For large size scrap, the sampler will make an estimation of the size distribution in the pile, cut pieces off from the different representative size fractions and replicate the size distribution in their sample from the cut pieces.  For smaller size scrap such as turnings, the sampler will take an appropriate number of increments, blend them together then split out sample portions for analysis.

How is it possible to get an accurate analysis from these increments or cut pieces?  Preparing a homogenous sample for laboratory analysis is the biggest challenge in performing an accurate analysis for steel scrap.  At McCreath, the scrap, regardless of size, is melted in an induction furnace.  This not only provides a homogenous sample for the lab to analyze but it also provides additional data for the customer by allowing for the calculation of metallic recovery.  Most furnace operators want to know what the yield or melt recovery of their melts will be before actually melting the material.  

After the sample is melted in the induction furnace an ingot is poured and a test sample taken at the same time.  After cooling and removal from the mold, the test sample is cut to size, polished to a mirror finish and run for analysis by WDXRF.  If the customer needs to know the carbon and sulfur content of the melt, pins are extracted from the melt using glass tubing, cut to size and then analyzed by combustion instrumentation.

Steel Scrap Services

Steel scrap covers a wide range of materials produced from both the waste of the manufacturing of products made from steel and also from the recycling of discarded consumer products that contain steel.   Waste products from manufacturing include materials such as trimmings left over from a stamping process or turnings or borings left over from a machining process. Recycled scrap is the end product from the recycling of metals from consumer goods – such as steel cans, automobiles, appliances, construction materials, and other steel products.

Approximately 65% of the steel produced in the United States and 40% of the steel produce globally is made from steel scrap or direct reduced iron.  The great percentage of this scrap is consumed by modern mills employing electric arc furnaces (EAF). The scrap yards will separate the metals, ferrous vs. non-ferrous, in order to combine like metals according to designated classifications for further processing or sale.  Many scrap yards have built in sorting mechanisms – magnets, screens, water displacement – and even rudimentary analytical capabilities in some cases.  Standards for the classification of steel scraps have been developed by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industry (ISRI).  These standards provide specifications for classification of steel scrap based upon the type, sizing, and metallic and residual composition.

Partner With McCreath Labs

McCreath, in partnership with our proprietary vendor Metalspec, has access to two induction furnaces; one 300-pound furnace (actual capacity is 150-pounds) and a 5-pound furnace.  The unique characteristic of the 5-pound furnace is it allows for both low temperature metal melts with a ceramic crucible and high temperature melts in a graphite crucible.  The additional carbon imparted to the sample by the graphite crucible is accounted for and corrected in the subsequent calculations to determine metallic recovery and sample chemistry.  

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