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Separation and recovery of materials from scrap printed circuit boards

By W.J. Hall and P.T. Williams


Printed circuit boards from waste computers, televisions, and mobile phones were pyrolysed in a fixed bed reactor with the aim of separating and recovering the organic and metallic materials. A selection of printed circuit boards from each of the three waste classes was pyrolysed at 800°C and the pyrolysis products were analysed using GC-FID, GC-TCD, GC-MS, GC-ECD, ICP-MS, and SEM-EDX. The pyrolysis oils contained high concentrations of phenol, 4-(1-methylethyl)phenol, and p-hydroxyphenol, as well as bisphenol A, tetrabromobisphenol A, methyl phenols, and bromophenols. The pyrolysis oils also contained significant concentrations of organo – phosphate compounds and a number of tetrabromobisphenol A pyrolysis products were also identified.\ud \ud The pyrolysis residues were very fragile and the organic, glass fibre, and metallic fractions could easily be separated and the electrical components could easily be removed from the remains of the printed circuit boards. The ash in the residue mainly consisted of copper, calcium, iron, nickel, zinc, and aluminium, as well as lower concentrations of valuable metals such as gallium, bismuth, silver, and gold, silver was present in particularly high concentrations. Many other metals were also identified in the ash by ICP-MS and SEM EDX. The pyrolysis gases mainly consisted of CO2 and CO but all of the C1 – C4 alkanes and alkenes were present, as were some inorganic halogens.\u

Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2007
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