Disassembly of waste printed circuit boards using air heating and centrifugal force
Keywords:Waste electric and electronic equipment, Recycling, Disassembly
Waste electrical and electronic equipment is a significant source of material that can contribute to reduce environmental impacts associated to extraction and discard stages; therefore, it is necessary to develop efficient recycling processes for components such as Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). Current methods for PCB recycling may be optimized by previous disassembly of such components. In the work reported here, an especially designed and manufactured centrifuge was employed to disassemble PCBs from power supplies (PS-PCBs) and memory chips (ME-PCBs) of personal computers (PCs), through combination of hot air flow and centrifugal force. The results showed that the device was capable of separating tin solder, electronic components (EC) and PCB substrate, as long as hazardous components and plastic parts are previously removed. A scanning electron microscope (SEM) with combined energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analyzer showed that the recovered solder had under 3%wt of contamination; therefore, it can be employed in the production of new soldering material, replacing the more commonly used solder dross. EC recovery rates were up to 94%wt for PS-PCBs and 32%wt for ME-PCBs, and once components such as inductors were not visibly damaged in the process, possibilities of reusing recovered components may be further investigated.
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