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Aluminum / Copper / Zinc / Lead / Magnesium: Dross Aluminum Recovery

When aluminum is melted, a skin (called Dross) forms on the surface of the metal. This dross contains salvageable aluminum along with dirt and other contaminants. This dross is skimmed off the metal bath, scrapped off furnace walls, and then usually sent out to secondary smelters for recovery of the aluminum. Aluminum is recovered from the dross in a rotating barrel furnace. The dross is first broken up and pulverized in a ball mill, then dumped into the charge end of a barrel furnace that contains salts of potassium chloride and sodium chloride. These salts cover the fine dross and help in the prevention of metal loss, providing more recoverable aluminum. The salts are recovered and reused. Photos of a typical dross recovery systems are shown below.

These are pictures of an Oxy-fuel system. Air-fuel systems are also available. In general dross aluminum recovery systems are sized to process between 65,000 to over 200,000 pounds of dross daily. Combustion systems that are sized between 3,000 to 8,000 CFH are typical. Burners used on a rotary dross furnace provide a luminous flame directed as far down the melter drum as possible.