Evaluation of Energy Use: Watt Committee: report number 6 by Watt Committee on Energy Publications

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Reinforced concrete is attractive at 145 to 250, followed by steels at 125 to 350, while cast irons can vary from 300 to 1825 in the United Kingdom, according to the energy efficiency of the manufacturer! The newer materials, aluminium, plastics and titanium, all use total energy contents ranging from 400 for duralumin to 700 for other aluminium alloys, and 500 to 2,000 for plastics depending on the type of polymer and whether energy content of the feedstock is included or not. Roughly the same order of merit obtains for modulus of rigidity and fatigue strength.

Based on these suggestions, plastics will continue to play an extremely important role in providing raw materials for industry. These differences remain unexplained even if transportation is included. Transport represents 14% of national energy consumption in Japan, and 22% of energy consumed by final users in UK transport per unit of product is lower than average for steel products. About 70% of the plastics used by industry is thermoplastics and can be recycled. Industry already uses in-plant conversion scrap (new scrap) to a large extent.

Composites, mixtures and heavily contaminated old scrap present problems in cost of recovery of useful compounds as is found with all materials, but there are technical solutions for thermoplastics waste. In the UK industry “used scrap” re-cycling represents 35% of annual production of finished products. Total scrap (including internally re-cycled) constitutes over 50% of total crude steel production. Thermosetting plastics cannot be recycled as processable material, but such waste can be considered, technically, as a source of chemicals or as an extender.

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