Researchers from the Ira A Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University are developing an innovative process to manufacture high-quality steel wires from recycled iron feedstock in a project supported by the REMADE Institute, a public-private partnership established by the US Department of Energy dedicated to helping the nation transition to a circular economy. While a vast majority of the steel in the US is recycled, it is inferior in quality to virgin steel from freshly mined materials. Recycled steel often comes from automotive scrap, which contains copper impurities that cause cracking when reused. This can be problem for certain steel applications, such as the wires used in tires to provide structural strength and support.Mr Sridhar Seetharaman, vice dean for research and innovation in the Fulton Schools and a professor of materials science and engineering, is developing this process with Narayanan Neithalath, a professor of civil engineering whose research focuses on sustainable materials for buildings and infrastructure and Mr Subramaniam Rajan, a professor of civil engineering who works on composite materials and modeling. Mr Seetharaman said “Steel is hard to decarbonize, and improving recyclability will impact this positively by reducing the most carbon-intensive step: iron ore reduction. A successful outcome from this project will reduce the need for mining, extraction and production using virgin iron.”The work is funded by the REMADE Institute, a public-private partnership established by the United States Department of Energy and the first institute in the US dedicated to helping the nation transition to a circular economy, a system in which materials are continually recycled and reused in an effort to reduce waste as much as possible. Mr Seetharaman and Neithalath’s project has been allocated USD 1.25 million in funding that is cost-shared between REMADE and ASU. At ASU, Seetharaman and Neithalath will conduct microstructure characterization, modeling and mechanical testing of the new recycled steel manufacturing process.