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Characterization of Dross from a Sidewell Melter Producing 3004 and 3105 Aluminum from Undercoated Scrap


MPLUS No.: MC-03-019

Relevance to ITP: Aluminum must be melted to produce most Al products.  However, during the melting process, nearly 4% of the molten Al is lost to oxidation, primarily due to dross formation.  Dross is a mixture of aluminum oxides and aluminum metal, which normally forms on the surface of the melt and is skimmed off.  Some aluminum metal can be recovered from the dross, but this is an added cost.  By understanding the factors that affect the amount and type of dross that forms on different Al alloys, measures can be taken to alter melt practices to reduce the amount of Al lost to oxidation.

Objective: The objectives of this project were to develop an understanding of the microstructural and compositional characteristics of the different drosses formed from using un-decoated scrap as the primary furnace charge as compared to the dross that forms when using cleaner, decoated scrap or clean mill scrap and primary ingot.  This information is to be used to help efforts by Commonwealth Aluminum to minimize losses due to dross formation on molten aluminum.