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Electronic waste disassembly with industrial waste heat

  • Author(s): Chen, M
  • Wang, J
  • Chen, H
  • Ogunseitan, OA
  • Zhang, M
  • Zang, H
  • Hu, J
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.1021/es402102t
Abstract

Waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs) are resource-rich but hazardous, demanding innovative strategies for post-consumer collection, recycling, and mining for economically precious constituents. A novel technology for disassembling electronic components from WPCBs is proposed, using hot air to melt solders and to separate the components and base boards. An automatic heated-air disassembling equipment was designed to operate at a heating source temperature at a maximum of 260 °C and an inlet pressure of 0.5 MPa. A total of 13 individual WPCBs were subjected to disassembling tests at different preheat temperatures in increments of 20 °C between 80 and 160 °C, heating source temperatures ranging from 220 to 300 °C in increments of 20 °C, and incubation periods of 1, 2, 4, 6, or 8 min. For each experimental treatment, the disassembly efficiency was calculated as the ratio of electronic components released from the board to the total number of its original components. The optimal preheat temperature, heating source temperature, and incubation period to disassemble intact components were 120 °C, 260 °C, and 2 min, respectively. The disassembly rate of small surface mount components (side length ≤ 3 mm) was 40-50% lower than that of other surface mount components and pin through hole components. On the basis of these results, a reproducible and sustainable industrial ecological protocol using steam produced by industrial exhaust heat coupled to electronic-waste recycling is proposed, providing an efficient, promising, and green method for both electronic component recovery and industrial exhaust heat reutilization. © 2013 American Chemical Society.

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