X-Ray Diagnostics for Scrap Metal Sorting

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Lexington, Kentucky
Project Term:
01/01/2014 - 10/15/2020

Critical Need:

Recycling light metals such as aluminum, titanium, and magnesium from scrap is primarily done manually, making it an inefficient and expensive process. Existing automated technologies are unable to distinguish different types of alloys. Innovation in light metal recycling is crucial because light metals can be used to reduce the weight of cars and aircraft, which could significantly reduce both energy use and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from transportation. Cost-effective scrap recycling could dramatically reduce the cost of light-weight metals, such as those used for aircraft construction and vehicle light-weighting.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

UHV Technologies is developing a sorting technology that uses X-rays to distinguish between high-value metal alloys found in scrap of many shapes and sizes. Existing identification technologies rely on manual sorting of light metals, which can be inaccurate and slow. UHV’s system will rapidly sort scrap metal passed over a conveyer belt, making it possible to lower metals waste while simultaneously increasing the quality of recycled metal alloys. By analyzing the light emitted from X-rayed metal pieces, UHV’s probe is able to identify alloy compositions for automated sorting. By automating this process, UHV would significantly reduce the costs associated with recycling light metal scrap.

Potential Impact:

If successful, UHV’s sorting diagnostics would reduce energy consumption and costs associated with manufacturing light metal components from recycled light metal scrap that is typically discarded.


Light-weighting vehicles to improve fuel efficiency could reduce U.S. dependence on foreign fossil fuel resources used in the transportation industry.


Recycling high-grade aluminum, magnesium, and their alloys from scrap metals reduces the amount of metal disposed in landfills.


Light metal recycling would enable a low-cost alternative to primary metal extraction, making light metal consumer applications more affordable. Recycled metals produced under this process would also be higher value due to more accurate scrap sorting.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. David Tew
Project Contact:
Dr. Nalin Kumar
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Phinix, LLC

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