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The McMurry Physics department has finished its first test run in an effort to use recycled aluminum in physics student projects.

Dr. Timothy Renfro built a small smelting kiln using a 5 gallon metal bucket, furnace cement, K-wool, and a flame tube made in the physics machine shop lab. About 60 gallons of aluminum cans have been collected from students and faculty over the past semester. About 20 gallons of these where melted down to create the ingots pictured. The heap of material in the paint bucket is slag, a byproduct consisting of a mix of metal oxides and foreign materials that separates from the aluminum during the process. The ingots were cast using a steel muffin pan.

View the whole process here:

Future smelting runs will also involve recycled copper, brass, and steel.

Students will not only be learning how to recycle metal, but later will be using sand and lost-wax casting to fabricate parts for their own projects. The machine shop lab is getting busy!