On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X
J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.109 n.12 Johannesburg Dec. 2009
The processing of eWaste. Part 1: The preparation and characterization of a metallic alloy derived from the smelting of printed circuit boards
D.R. Groot; J.A.N. van der Linde
Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering, University of Pretoria
A brief overview is given of the issues regarding the processing of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The printed circuit board component of WEEE is an exceptionally complex feed to possible recycling processes.
Scrap printed circuit boards were selectively smelted at 1 200°C to produce a metallic alloy. Iron and aluminium were found not to be part of the alloy. The alloy was characterized by SEM-EDS, and three phases were identified: alpha and delta bronzes, and a leadrich phase. Calculations show that about 56 mass per cent of the alloy is the alpha phase, 35 per cent delta phase and 9 per cent lead phase.
A simplified approach using appropriate binary phase diagrams was used to derive a phase composition for the alloy. This was further backed by FactSage calculations, which showed that the simplified approach was appropriate for this alloy. The experimental findings and theory were found to agree well.
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