With the purpose of reducing the waste generated by end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) by enhancing the recovery and recycling of nonferrous metals, an experimental study was conducted with the finest size fraction of nonferrous stream produced at an ELV shredder plant. The aim of this work was to characterize the nonferrous stream and to evaluate the efficiency of a gravity concentration process in separating light and heavy nonferrous metal particles that could be easily integrated in a ELV shredder plant (in this case study the separation explicitly addressed copper and aluminum separation). The characterization of a sample of the 0-10 mm particle size fraction showed a mixture of nonferrous metals with a certain degree of impurity due to the present of contaminants such as plastics. The majority of the particles exhibited a wire shape, preventing an efficient separation of materials without prior fragmentation. The gravity concentration process selected for this study was the wet shaking table and three operating parameters of the equipment were manipulated. A full factorial design in combination with a central composite design was employed to model metals recovery. Two second order polynomial equations were successfully fitted to describe the process and predict the recovery of copper and aluminum in Cu concentrate under the conditions of the present study. The optimum conditions were determined to be 11.1° of inclination, 2.8 L/min of feed water flow and 4.9 L/min of wash water flow. All three final products of the wet shaking table had a content higher than 90% in relation to one of the metals, wherein a Cu concentrate product was obtained with a Cu content of 96%, and 78% of Cu recovery and 2% of Al recovery. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
Year of publication: 2016