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 can seem a bit complicated, but we’re here to tell you all about it. So if you want to become an assay expert, 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 a homogenous powder is created. In this powder, each particle has an equal chance of being analyzed, which is critical for assay accuracy. Once your material is completely homogenized, 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, 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 Means Choosing Accuracy

It might be faster for some recyclers to sell to their buyers, but they might not be getting the best price. When you choose to assay your converters, you’re making the smart choice. That’s because you’ll get paid based on an accurate reading of the metals recovered from 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 better understand your material. For this reason, at PMR, we provide transparent and detailed assay reports to our suppliers. We believe in empowering recyclers to make the best choices for their businesses.

For more information, visit our Resource Center.

Published: September 19, 2023
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