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Finding Recycled Materials for Engineering Projects in Schools and Universities

Many students can more easily learn and retain information through project-based learning than through traditional teaching methodologies, as it gives them hands-on experience and allows them to problem solve in a real-world context. This is especially true for college STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs and engineering courses, and engineering projects are often implemented into curriculums to allow students to master new skills.

However, the materials that are often required for these projects can be costly and hard to find, and many students, schools, and universities are restricted to low budgets. Many of these challenges can be mitigated by purchasing recycled metal remnants from a local metal supplier. By purchasing metal remnants, students can use high-quality materials at significantly lower costs, allowing them to take their engineering projects to a much higher level.

Below, we discuss some of the most ideal recycled materials for engineering projects and the benefits of purchasing metal remnants from a reliable metal supplier.

Ideal Metal Remnants for Engineering Projects

Metal remnants provide excellent value for any engineering project, as they generally cost less, and recycling is better for the environment. However, finding the right metal for the project is key. The following factors need to be considered before materials are chosen:

  • Formability
  • Weldability
  • Machinability
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Heat treatment
  • Strength

Here, we detail three of the most ideal metals for engineering projects, examine their material properties, and weigh the pros and cons of each.


Aluminum is one of the most popular metals in use today, and because it’s easy to recycle, it’s one of the most common and environmentally friendly recycled materials for engineering projects. It’s often used as a low-cost sustainable housing material for model projects, as housing materials should have good resistance to oxidizing environments while offering exceptional strength to accidental loads compared to their weight.

In this regard, 6061 aluminum is an alloy with a high strength-to-weight ratio and good corrosion resistance. It is one of the most commonly used aluminum alloys, with magnesium (0.8-1.2%) and silicon (0.4-0.8%) as major alloying elements. 6061 also has good mechanical and weldability properties, and for this reason, it is extensively used as a construction material for engineering and structural applications.

However, aluminum can be difficult to work with due to its relatively low melting temperature. When cutting or machining the aluminum, the high-temperature friction may turn the application area gummy, leading to material loss and tons of rework for an unskilled student. To save time and money, precision-cut aluminum bars can be ordered from a local metal supplier.


Inconel, a nickel-based alloy, is an excellent choice for extremely hot and heavy load applications. Inconel offers excellent resistance to mechanical and chemical degradation, even at temperatures close to its melting point. When it’s subjected to heat, it forms a thick passivating oxide layer to protect against corrosion. Inconel can be purchased as bars (round/flat), rods, and rings for engineering projects. However, Inconel can be difficult to machine and weld for novice designers—to save time and lower costs, it may be better to purchase precision-cut metals.

Inconel is available in various alloys, such as Inconel 600, Inconel 617, Inconel 625, Inconel 690, Inconel 718, and Inconel X-750. Of these alloys, Inconel 718 is the most ideal for any low-cost project.

Occasionally classified as an iron-nickel base superalloy, Inconel 718 is competitively priced due to its low cobalt and high iron content. Inconel 718 was first used on military engines in the 1960s and is still used in many high-temperature applications. Apart from having good weldability and fabricability, Inconel 718 offers excellent aqueous corrosion resistance at ambient and low temperatures.


Titanium alloys offer high strength, low density, and excellent corrosion resistance to function under high temperature-prone areas for the chemical, aerospace, or biomedical industries. There is also an increasing demand for commercially pure (CP) titanium, which is mainly used as a corrosion-resistant material in non-aerospace applications. CP titanium is considered ideal for building applications such as exterior walls and roofing materials.

Among the various titanium alloys, the classical Ti-6Al-4V accounts for about half of all the titanium used globally. Due to its superior structural efficiency at high temperatures, the weight share of titanium is roughly 10% of Boeing airframes and 25% of modern aircraft engines. Though titanium seems to be an obvious choice for its excellent strength-to-density ratio, many engineers only consider it for certain niche applications due to its high cost. However, by purchasing verified titanium remnants from a reliable metal supplier, these costs can be significantly reduced.

Purchase Recycled Materials for Engineering Projects from a Reliable Metal Supplier

Industrial Metal Service has been providing metal recycling services to the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond for more than two decades. Our remnant inventory consists of aluminum, titanium, Inconel, steel, tungsten carbide, and even specialty metals such as Hastelloy and Invar 36. We can help you find what you need at a fraction of the cost of buying new metals sourced straight from the mill. For engineering projects that require certain specifications, we use Thermo-Fisher x-ray fluorescence analyzers to verify the quality and composition of the remnants you purchase.

To learn more about what we can do for you, contact us today. We look forward to learning about your metal requirements, and we’ll help you get what you need—fast.
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Published by IMS Team

Industrial Metal Service has decades of experience and over 1.1 billion pounds of metal sold and recycled. Our founder, Jeff, has spent his life in the industry and prides himself on offering fair, efficient, trustworthy, knowledgeable, outstanding customer service. We offer metal salesmetal recycling pickup service, and other associated services, such as precise metal sawing, machinery teardown, and warehouse cleanupGive us a call and we’ll get it done.