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Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Dec 16;48(24):14092-102. doi: 10.1021/es5030383. Epub 2014 Nov 26.

State-of-the-art of recycling e-wastes by vacuum metallurgy separation.

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Shanghai Key Lab for Urban Ecological Processes and Eco-Restoration, School of Ecological and Environmental Science, East China Normal University , 500 Dong chuan Road, Shanghai, P.R. China.


In recent era, more and more electric and electronic equipment wastes (e-wastes) are generated that contain both toxic and valuable materials in them. Most studies focus on the extraction of valuable metals like Au, Ag from e-wastes. However, the recycling of metals such as Pb, Cd, Zn, and organics has not attracted enough attentions. Vacuum metallurgy separation (VMS) processes can reduce pollution significantly using vacuum technique. It can effectively recycle heavy metals and organics from e-wastes in an environmentally friendly way, which is beneficial for both preventing the heavy metal contaminations and the sustainable development of resources. VMS can be classified into several methods, such as vacuum evaporation, vacuum carbon reduction and vacuum pyrolysis. This paper respectively reviews the state-of-art of these methods applied to recycling heavy metals and organics from several kinds of e-wastes. The method principle, equipment used, separating process, optimized operating parameters and recycling mechanism of each case are illustrated in details. The perspectives on the further development of e-wastes recycling by VMS are also presented.

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