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Characteristics of exhaust gas, liquid products, and residues of printed circuit boards using the pyrolysis process

Chiang, Hung-Lung, Lo, Cho-Ching, Ma, Sen-Yi
Environmental science and pollution research international 2010 v.17 no.3 pp. 624-633
acetates, acetone, benzene, bromination, carbon dioxide, gas chromatography, hydrogen, ice, mass spectrometry, metals, methane, methanol, methylene chloride, molecular weight, phenol, polychlorinated biphenyls, propane, pyrolysis, recycling, styrene, temperature, volatile organic compounds, xylene
Introduction The pyrolytic method was employed to recycle metals and brominated compounds blended into printed circuit boards (PCBs). Methods PCBs were crushed into pieces 4.0-4.8 mm in size, and the crushed pieces were pyrolyzed at temperatures ranging from 200 to 500°C. The compositions of pyrolytic residues, liquid products, and exhaust were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Pyrolytic exhaust was collected by an impinger system in an ice bath cooler to analyze the composition fraction of the liquid product, and uncondensable exhaust was collected for gas constituent analysis. Results Phenol, methyl-phenol, and bromo-phenol were attributed mainly to the liquid product. Metal content was low in the liquid product. In addition, CO, CO₂, CH₄, and H₂ were the major components of pyrolytic exhaust. Conclusions Brominated and chlorinated compounds—i.e., dichloromethane, trans-1,2 dichloroethylene, cis-1,2 dichloroethylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, tetrachloromethane, bromophenol, and bromoform—could be high, up to the several parts per million (ppm) level. Low molecular weight volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—i.e., methanol, acetone, ethyl acetate, acrylonitrile, 1-butene, propene, propane, and n-butane—contributed a large fraction of VOCs. The concentrations of toluene, benzene, xylene, ethylbenzene, and styrene were in the ppm range.