Main content area

Investigation on an innovative technology for wet separation of plastic wastes

Lupo, Emanuela, Moroni, Monica, La Marca, Floriana, Fulco, Simone, Pinzi, Valentina
Waste management 2016 v.51 pp. 3-12
geometry, poly(vinyl chloride), polyethylene terephthalates, recycling, technology, wastes
This paper presents an original device for the separation of plastic polymers from mixtures. Due to the combination of a characteristic flow pattern developing within the apparatus and density, shape and size differences among two or more polymers, this device allows their separation into two products, one collected within the instrument and the other one expelled through its outlet ducts. Experimental tests have been conducted to investigate the effectiveness of the apparatus, using two geometric arrangements, nine hydraulic configurations and three selections of polymers at three stages of a material life cycle. Tests with samples composed of a single typology of polymer have been used to understand the interaction between the particles and the carrying fluid within the apparatus in different hydraulic configurations and geometric arrangements. Multi-material tests are essential to simulate the real conditions in an industrial recycling plant. The separation results have been evaluated in terms of grade and recovery of a useful material. Under the proper hydraulic configurations, the experimentation showed that it is possible to produce an almost pure concentrate of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) from a mixture of 85% PET and 15% Polycarbonate (PC) (concentrate grade and recovery equal to 99.5% and 95.1%) and a mixture of 85% PET and 15% Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) (concentrate grade and recovery equal to 97.9% and 100.0%). It is further demonstrated that almost pure concentrates of PVC and PC can be produced from a mixture of 85% PVC and 15% PC (PVC grade and recovery equal to 99.9% and 99.7%) and a mixture of 85% PC and 15% PVC (PC grade and recovery equal to 99.0% and 99.5%).