We are a UC Santa Cruz electrical engineering senior design team. We are developing a method using a modified electromagnet that will be able to sort between different types of nonferrous metals, i.e. non-magnetic metals. Developing this technique is the next step in increasing the efficiency of recycling nonferrous scrap metal such as copper, aluminum, and titanium. The current methods that are employed in this stage of scrap metal sorting are hand sorting and chemical density separation. Both of these techniques are time intensive and we hope that are method would be easier to implement in an industrial setting.
Currently only 30% of the worlds copper is recycled, meaning that the majority of copper used globally comes from mining operations. Copper mines have a history of being damaging to the environment and causing health issues for the miners. We hope that by helping scrap metal recycling companies improve their efficiency sorting copper and other nonferrous metal, recycling rates would improve, and therefore the reliance on mining would be diminished.