Assay for Rookies: Breaking Down the Science Behind Catalytic Converter Analysis

Assay for Rookies

If you’ve ever dealt with catalytic converters, you know that they’re valuable because of the precious metals they contain, namely platinum, palladium, and rhodium. And while other recyclers might choose to sell their material to another party, getting paid on assay for your converters is the only way to get its true value. We understand, however, that assay might feel like a complicated concept, but we’re here to tell you all about it. So if you’re ready to become an expert in assaying, check out our video or keep reading.

First Thing’s First: Proper Sample Preparation

An accurate assay depends on proper sample preparation, which means that your converters have been cut, crushed, and mixed until the result is a homogenous powder. In this powder, each particle has an equal chance of being analyzed, which is critical for assay accuracy. Once your material is completely homogenous, multiple samples are taken for assay.

What is Assay?

An assay is a laboratory test that measures the amount of a specific substance. In the converter recycling industry, that means your material goes through X-ray Fluorescence and Inductive Coupled plasma machines. These technologies measure the exact amount of platinum, palladium, and rhodium contained in your lot of converters.

Choosing Assay is Choosing Accuracy

It might be faster for some recyclers to sell to their buyers, but it might also mean that they’re not getting a fair price. When you choose to assay your converters, you choose to get paid based on the accurate amount of metals recovered in your load.

Processors who assay will give you an assay report with all the information you need to hedge accordingly, like troy ounce recovery figures. Having this kind of data not only ensures a transparent relationship with your processor but also allows you to understand your material. It’s for this reason that at PMR, we provide transparent and detailed assay reports to our suppliers. We believe that informed recyclers are empowered to make the best choices for their businesses.

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Published: September 19, 2023
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