A normal recycling procedure converts vast amounts of things made of a single material into more of the same.However, this approach isn’t possible for old electronic devices, or”e-waste,Transforming e-waste
“because they contain small amounts of several different substances that cannot be readily separated.
Now, in ACS Omega, researchers report a discerning, small-scale micro recycling strategy,which they use to convert older printed circuit boards and track components into a new type of durable metallic coating.
Transforming e-waste into a strong, protective coating for metal
Despite the problem, there is plenty of reason to recycle e-waste:
It contains many potentially valuable substances that can use to alter the operation of different substances or to manufacture new, useful articles.
Previous research indicates that closely calibrated large temperature-based processing can
selectively break and reform compound bonds in waste to produce new,
environmentally friendly substances. This way, researchers have already turned a mixture of plastic and glass into valuable, silica-containing ceramics.Transforming e-waste
They’ve also used this procedure to recoup copper, which is commonly utilized in electronic equipment and elsewhere, from circuit boards.
Depending on the properties of copper and silica chemicals, Veena Sahajwalla and Rumana Hossain suspected that,
after extracting them in e-wastethey can combine them to make a durable new hybrid material ideal for protecting metal surfaces.
To do so, the researchers heated glass and plastic powder from old computer screens to 2,732 F, creating silicon carbide nano wires.
Then they combined the nano wires with ground-up circuit boards, put the mixture on a steel substrate then heated it .Transforming e-waste
This time that the thermal transformation temperature selected was 1,832 F, melting the aluminum to make a silicon-carbide enriched hybrid layer beneath the steel.
Microscope images revealed that, when struck with a nano scale indenter, the hybrid layer remained firmly affixed to the steel, without cracking or chipping.
Additionally, it improved the steel hardness by 125%.
The group refers to this concentrated, selective micro recycling procedure as”substance microsurgery,”
and state it has the capability to change e-waste into advanced new surface coatings without the use of raw materials.