Recovery of valuable elements from spent printed circuit boards by chlorination

Takahiro Kato, Katsuyasu Sugawara, Takashi Nakamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Many elements have been used as raw materials for electronic components, wiring, and plating on printed circuit boards. Such boards contain several hundred to a few thousand ppm of rare metals and precious metals, while containing base metals in the order of a few percent. To develop an e cient low-energy recovery process for such valuable elements from spent products, the dynamic behavior of ten elements was investigated during chlorination of samples prepared in three di erent ways: by incinerating and pyrolyzing the spent printed circuit boards, and by mixing the incinerated sample with a solid carbon reducing agent. When an incinerated sample was heated, volatilization was observed to start at 600°C for Sn, Cr, Fe, and Zn; at 800°C for Cu and Ni; and at 1,000°C for Pb, Ta, Co, and Au. The volatilization temperature was con rmed to be lower for the pyrolyzed sample than for the incinerated sample. The volatilization of all elements was accelerated when solid carbon was added to the incinerated sample and the starting temperature of volatilization was found to decrease. A non-isothermal kinetic analysis was conducted for the release behavior of elements during the chlorination of the incinerated, pyrolyzed, and carbon-added samples, assuming that the release rate could be expressed as rst-order in terms of the content of the solid phase. The addition of carbon to the incinerated sample resulted in a reduction of the activation energy for the volatilization reaction to half or less for all elements except Cr. Since the py- rolyzed sample contained 12.7 wt% carbon, it is presumed that this carbon promoted the chlorination reaction at low temperatures in comparison to the incinerated samples. The change in the extent to which elements were released de- creased when the release extents of Sn, Fe, and Zn reached 0.85, 0.70, and 0.65, respectively; however, it was found that the volatilization rate could be restored by crushing and mixing the samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-67
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 20


  • Base metal
  • Chlorination
  • Rare metal
  • Spent printed circuit boards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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