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Cryogenic grinding of parts

Cryogenic Material Separation

A more sustainable process and cleaner components

Off-spec parts made from a polymer and a metal, such as electrical cables, vibration isolators, oil well seals, metal tracks with rubber pads and many other products contain materials that can be valuable if they are recovered and recycled. Current technologies, such as incineration, pyrolysis and chemical separation can be expensive to use and environmentally unfriendly. In addition, these techniques may not be able to recover the highest-value material from the part. Our PolarFit® cryogenic liberation process offers you a sustainable alternative to recover clean components for reuse and recycling.

How It Works

Our PolarFit® liberation process uses liquid nitrogen to cool component parts to extremely low temperatures. At these temperatures, the polymer portion contracts at a greater rate than the metal portion of the part due to the difference in their thermal expansion coefficients. For many parts, this differential contraction creates enough stress to break the bond between the polymer and the metal. This technology can be applied in your separation process to generate a stream of clean metal and a stream of metal-free polymers, making it easier to recover and recycle.


Due to the complex nature of these multicomponent parts, the most accurate and reliable way to evaluate the effectiveness of cryogenic material liberation is through laboratory testing rather than through calculations.

Air Products’ applications engineers can help you evaluate the use of cryogenic liberation in your processes. At our trial facilities, we can cool your multicomponent part by immersing it in liquid nitrogen or in a test chamber of cold nitrogen gas. Our engineers use these tests to establish process parameters for the separation of your part and to  help develop estimated capital and operating costs for your processes.

PolarFit® Cryogenic Liberation of Polymer and Metal Components

Advantages of Cryogenic Material Separation

One of the recycling industry’s biggest challenges is to recover materials from composite parts such as metal and plastic bonded together. Liquid nitrogen can be used safely and effectively to cool these parts to cryogenic temperatures to allow for their separation so that the individual components can be collected, recused or recycled. By using cryogenic liberation, material separation efficiency becomes higher while avoiding use of other environmentally less favorable techniques that may also be more expensive to use.

The Air Products Advantage

As a leader in cryogenic applications, we offer a complete portfolio of technical services from our experienced staff and fully equipped facilities, from feasibility and design through start-up and ongoing support services

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