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Bench-scale PVC swelling and rod milling of waste wire harnesses for recovery of Cu, PVC, and plasticizers


In this study, we conducted bench-scale investigations for the recovery of Cu wires, PVC coatings, and plasticizers from long non-uniform cables by wet and dry rod milling, using n-butyl acetate or acetone as swelling solvents at ambient temperatures of 17, 25, and 35 °C. In wet milling, acetone presented a faster separation rate at ≥ 35 °C due to its improved swelling power. However, at 17 and 25 °C, the separation rates of both solvents were comparable. During the dry milling, the acetone-swollen cables tended to de-swell rapidly, whereas cables swollen with n-butyl acetate remained swollen for a longer period, resulting in a greater separation rate. At optimal conditions, both methods fully recovered Cu wires, PVC coatings, and near-quantitative diisononyl phthalate yield. Overall, the results can significantly contribute to the development of future industrial wet or dry milling processes.

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This research was supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund [JPMEERF20193R01] of the Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency of Japan. Harendra Kumar was supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

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Correspondence to Shogo Kumagai.

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Supplementary Online Resource 1: Size distribution of segregated cable from wire harness waste. Online Resource 2: Quantitative analysis of plasticizer. Online Resource 3: Optimization of milling time for upscaling. Online Resource 4: Definitions and estimates before upscaling. Online Resource 5: Detailed discussion on solvent–PVC systems at different temperatures. Online Resource 6: Procedures for estimation of DINP recycling yield (Ysep) (DOC 9742 KB)

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Kumar, H., Kumagai, S., Kameda, T. et al. Bench-scale PVC swelling and rod milling of waste wire harnesses for recovery of Cu, PVC, and plasticizers. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag (2021).

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  • Wire harness waste
  • Wet and dry rod milling
  • Organic solvent
  • Cu wires
  • PVC