Technological advancements and the ever-increasing demand for the latest electronic gadgets lead to the huge generation of waste. Printed circuit boards are key connecting components of any electronic device, and the presence of significant metallic values such as copper can be regarded as a valuable secondary source. The discarded printed circuit boards are grounded to − 1 mm size and they consist of 30–40% metal values and 60–70% plastic–organic fraction. Due to the presence of a high amount of plastics in the feed, separation between the plastic and the metallic fraction is necessary for effective recycling. In this study, air and water-based fluidization processes are experimentally investigated for the separation of metallic values. Combined fluidization concentrate yielded a grade of about 90% with an overall recovery of 35%. It was found that the combination of air and water fluidization is a promising route to recover metals from electronic scrap as it is cost-effective and environment-friendly. The underflow fraction obtained consists of 87% metal fraction (Al, Cu, Zn, Pb, and Sn) and can be further used in alloy-making applications.
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The authors acknowledge the funding received from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee (Faculty Initiation Grant; FIG-100714) and thank Himanshu Tanvar for his efforts in fluidization set up.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
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