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J Hazard Mater. 2010 Jun 15;178(1-3):823-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.02.013. Epub 2010 Feb 10.

Multiple heavy metals extraction and recovery from hazardous electroplating sludge waste via ultrasonically enhanced two-stage acid leaching.

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  • 1School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, South China University of Technology, Wushan, Guangzhou 510640, Guangdong, China.


An ultrasonically enhanced two-stage acid leaching process on extracting and recovering multiple heavy metals from actual electroplating sludge was studied in lab tests. It provided an effective technique for separation of valuable metals (Cu, Ni and Zn) from less valuable metals (Fe and Cr) in electroplating sludge. The efficiency of the process had been measured with the leaching efficiencies and recovery rates of the metals. Enhanced by ultrasonic power, the first-stage acid leaching demonstrated leaching rates of 96.72%, 97.77%, 98.00%, 53.03%, and 0.44% for Cu, Ni, Zn, Cr, and Fe respectively, effectively separated half of Cr and almost all of Fe from mixed metals. The subsequent second-stage leaching achieved leaching rates of 75.03%, 81.05%, 81.39%, 1.02%, and 0% for Cu, Ni, Zn, Cr, and Fe that further separated Cu, Ni, and Zn from mixed metals. With the stabilized two-stage ultrasonically enhanced leaching, the resulting over all recovery rates of Cu, Ni, Zn, Cr and Fe from electroplating sludge could be achieved at 97.42%, 98.46%, 98.63%, 98.32% and 100% respectively, with Cr and Fe in solids and the rest of the metals in an aqueous solution discharged from the leaching system. The process performance parameters studied were pH, ultrasonic power, and contact time. The results were also confirmed in an industrial pilot-scale test, and same high metal recoveries were performed.

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