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What is Magnetic Separation?


Magnetic separation is a method of waste management where magnets are used to separate metal from refuse. This is most common in single and mixed streams of recycling as the materials are collected together and separated before processing.

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Magnetic Separation systems were first used after the Second World War in scrap yards. These magnetic systems were mostly electromagnets, bulky, expensive items that relied on a power source to work and were notorious for overheating. The development of ceramic materials made it possible for permanent magnets to be used for separation. By the end of the 1970s, magnetic separation went through another development with the introduction of three different forms of separation becoming popular: overhead magnets, magnetic pulleys, and the magnetic drum. These three methods have since been used in the recycling industry in the removal of metals from among recycled materials.


Other Sources

Osborne, Alan. “Magnetic Separation Process.” eHow. Accessed August 10, 2016.

Phillips, Mark. “Magnetic Separation Basics.” Recycling Today. Accessed August 10, 2016.