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Recovery of residual metals from − 0.5 mm non-metallic fractions in WPCBs using electrostatic separation enhanced by air classification

Abstract

Electrostatic separation is a cleaning physical method to recover metals from waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs), but it has poor separation efficiency for finer sized fractions. In this study, electrostatic separation enhanced by air classification was used to recover residual metals from − 0.5 mm non-metallic fractions in WPCBs. Under the optimal operational factors, concentrate with metal content of 71.55 wt% and recovery of 64.79% was obtained by “air classification + electrostatic separation” process. Morphology analysis showed that large amounts of fine glass fibers adhesion to the surface of metal particles, resulting in low separation efficiency of fine fractions. Air classification can realize separation of metallic particles and non-metallic particles according to the difference of density. And pre-concentration of metal particles in coarse fraction can reduce the load of subsequent separation process. Moreover, the air flow can effectively remove fine non-metallic particles and reduce the influence of adhesion and agglomeration of fine particles on electrostatic separation, so as to improve the separation efficiency of electrostatic separation.

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Funding

This work is supported by Sichuan Science and Technology Program, Sichuan, China (No. 2021YJ0057).

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Contributions

ZW: carried out the experiment, analyzed the data, and wrote the manuscript; HL: research and investigation, methods, draft revision; HC: error checking; JX: error checking; QZ: experimental conjecture verification, method.

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Correspondence to Hong Li.

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Wang, Z., Li, H., Chen, H. et al. Recovery of residual metals from − 0.5 mm non-metallic fractions in WPCBs using electrostatic separation enhanced by air classification. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag 24, 980–991 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10163-022-01373-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10163-022-01373-1

Keywords

  • WPCBs
  • Air classification
  • Electrostatic separation
  • Metal recycling