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Materials 2014, 7(6), 4555-4566; doi:10.3390/ma7064555

Characterization of Printed Circuit Boards for Metal and Energy Recovery after Milling and Mechanical Separation

1
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Campinas—UNICAMP, Campinas, SP 13083-970, Brazil
2
The National Service of Commerce—SENAC, São Paulo, SP 04696-000, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 13 May 2014 / Accepted: 3 June 2014 / Published: 16 June 2014
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Abstract

The proper disposal of electrical and electronic waste is currently a concern of researchers and environmental managers not only because of the large volume of such waste generated, but also because of the heavy metals and toxic substances it contains. This study analyzed printed circuit boards (PCBs) from discarded computers to determine their metal content and characterized them as solid waste and fuel. The analysis showed that PCBs consist of approximately 26% metal, made up mainly of copper, lead, aluminum, iron and tin, as well as other heavy metals such as cadmium and nickel. Comparison with the results of other studies indicated that the concentration of precious metals (gold and silver) has declined over time. Analysis of the leachate revealed high concentrations of cadmium and lead, giving the residue the characteristics of hazardous waste. After milling the PCBs, we found that larger amounts of metal were concentrated in smaller fractions, while the lightest fraction, obtained by density separation, had a gross calorific value of approximately 11 MJ/kg, although with a high ash content. Milling followed by density separation proved potentially useful for recovery of metals and energy-rich fractions. View Full-Text
Keywords: printed circuit boards; solid waste; heavy metals; energy recovery; metal recovery printed circuit boards; solid waste; heavy metals; energy recovery; metal recovery
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bizzo, W.A.; Figueiredo, R.A.; de Andrade, V.F. Characterization of Printed Circuit Boards for Metal and Energy Recovery after Milling and Mechanical Separation. Materials 2014, 7, 4555-4566.

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