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Treatment of waste printed wire boards in electronic waste for safe disposal

TitleTreatment of waste printed wire boards in electronic waste for safe disposal
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsNiu X, Li Y
Journal TitleJournal of Hazardous Materials
KeywordsCement solidification, Disposal, Electronic waste, Hazardous waste, Printed wire board
AbstractThe printed wire boards (PWBs) in electronic waste (E-waste) have been found to contain large amounts of toxic substances. Studies have concluded that the waste PWBs are hazardous wastes because they fails the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) test with high level of lead (Pb) leaching out. In this study, two treatment methods - high-pressure compaction and cement solidification - were explored for rendering the PWBs into non-hazardous forms so that they may be safely disposed or used. The high-pressure compaction method could turn the PWBs into high-density compacts with significant volume reduction, but the impact resistance of the compacts was too low to keep them intact in the environment for a long run. In contrast, the cement solidification could turn the PWBs into strong monoliths with high impact resistance and relatively high compressive strength. The leaching of the toxic heavy metal Pb from the solidified samples was evaluated by both a dynamic leaching test and the TCLP test. The dynamic leaching results revealed that Pb could be effectively confined in the solidified products under very harsh environmental conditions. The TCLP test results showed that the leaching level of Pb was far below the regulatory level of 5 mg/L, suggesting that the solidified PWBs are no longer hazardous. It was concluded that the cement solidification is an effective way to render the waste PWBs into environmentally benign forms so that they can be disposed of as ordinary solid wastes or beneficially used in the place of concrete in some applications.
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