Investigation of Discarded Printed Circuit Boards for Recovery of Copper Values

Date of publication 10 August 2020

Authors Barnwal, Amit; Dhawan, Nikhil.

Sources Jom : 72 (DocId: 8) 2983–2992.



The present study reports a process route to recover copper values from two different discarded printed circuit boards. The boards are shredded and subjected to both air and water fluidization for the separation of plastic values. Tap density measurements are used to delineate the separation efficiency, and metal recovery is calculated using Newton efficiency. Thermal exposure of the underflow of water fluidization at 750 degrees C yielded a copper-enriched concentrate with a purity of 73% copper with 11% Sn and 6% Pb and ~ 90% purity with 89% recovery for PCB-1 and PCB-2, respectively. It is concluded that a copper tin-lead mixed concentrate can be recovered from PCB-1, while almost pure copper can be recovered from PCB-2. The processing route followed is environment-friendly and cost-effective for the recovery of metallic values.

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