Determination of liberation degree of mechanically processed waste printed circuit boards by using the digital microscope and SEM-EDS analysis

Pedro Pereira Gonçalves, Akira Otsuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Characterization of heterogeneous materials, such as particles from mechanically processed waste printed circuit boards, is a challenging task. The majority of characterization methods either give average information or information that is very limited and in a tiny area of specific interest. That said, capturing such heterogeneity is significantly important for any kind of processes. Degree of liberation, indicating how much the target component is liberated from the non-valuable components, is a key property to determine the success of subsequent process for valuable material recovery. This work analyzed the degree of liberation of metals within the products of hammer milling process via the combination of image acquisition and analysis. The digital microscope and a scanning electron microscope (SEM) coupled with the energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) were used for image acquisition and elemental mapping, in order to evaluate the selective liberation under different milling conditions (i.e., feed mass, milling time) for different metals (mainly Cu and Al) and particle size fractions. The obtained liberation degree was also modelled and determined the liberation parameters that were compared. The results showed that the degree of liberation significantly depend on the milling conditions and metals we analyzed, and well correlated with the selective metal enrichment behavior. Results between the two methods showed some similarities and discrepancies. The advantages and disadvantages of the above two methods were identified and discussed in the paper, in addition to their methodological developments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1202
JournalElectronics (Switzerland)
Volume8
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Circular economy
  • Complex material
  • Heterogeneity
  • Metal recovery
  • Recycling
  • Scanning electron microscope

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