Scrap lead analysis continues to advance technologically as the demand for recycled lead continues to rise. Of all non-ferrous metals, lead has the 2nd largest volume of recycling (second to copper) because of its corrosion resistance. Scrap lead has the ability to be recycled decades – or even centuries – after its initial production. New environmental regulations in most countries have vastly reduced dissipative uses for lead such as leaded gasoline, paint, stabilizers, pigments, ammunition, and solder. At present, nearly half of the total world lead production of 4.8 million tons is a product of scrap metal recycling. The past few years have seen the amount of recycled scrap lead increase, with economists predicting that the rate of scrap lead materials will increase dramatically in the future. Contact Bruker to discuss your scrap lead analysis needs today!
The major source of recycled scrap lead worldwide is lead acid batteries and their associated manufacturing plant scrap, representing over 90 percent of the contained lead available for scrap recycling. Scrap automotive batteries account for nearly 85 percent of the lead battery scrap materials. Other scrap lead materials include lead pipe and sheet, sheaths from power and telephone cables, anodes, weights (specifically truck and automobile wheel weights), printing metals, and dusts.
Two lead specifications prevail in the United States and much of the world: one with a minimum of 99.99 percent Pb grade (produced by primary lead companies) and the other with a minimum of 99.97 percent Pb grade (produced by recyclers). The primary difference in Pb grades is that pure lead companies remove the silver and bismuth in their refining process, while many recyclers do not. Other impurities in scrap lead include arsenic, antimony, copper, zinc, and tin. Of late, tellurium and selenium have been characterized as important impurities.
The lead industry, particularly lead recycling, must conform to increasingly stringent governmental and environmental regulations. As the major raw material of scrap recyclers, lead acid batteries have been declared a hazardous waste, domestically and abroad. Since acid batteries are the biggest source of scrap lead, they make up the majority of lead contamination in incinerators and landfills. Such nonconformance often has legal complications and requires fast testing techniques when time is of the essence. The Bruker S1 TITAN provides instantaneous elemental composition in scrap lead analysis!