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Concept: Printed circuit board


Conventional ways of making bio-electrodes are generally complicated, expensive and unconformable. Here we describe for the first time the method of applying Ga-based liquid metal ink as drawable electrocardiogram (ECG) electrodes. Such material owns unique merits in both liquid phase conformability and high electrical conductivity, which provides flexible ways for making electrical circuits on skin surface and a prospective substitution of conventional rigid printed circuit boards (PCBs).

Concepts: Electrical conductor, Electroencephalography, Liquid, Electrical conductivity, Electrical engineering, Printed circuit board, Breadboard, Electronic engineering


Improved methods are required for the recycling of waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs). In this study, WPCBs (1-1.5 cm2 in size) were separated into their components using dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) at 60°C for 45 min and a metallographic microscope used to verify their delamination. An increased incubation time of 210 min yielded a complete separation of WPCBs into their components, and copper foils and glass fibers were obtained. The separation time decreased with increasing temperature. When the WPCB size was increased to 2-3 cm2, the temperature required for complete separation increased to 90°C. When the temperature was increased to 135°C, liquid photo solder resists could be removed from the copper foil surfaces. The DMSO was regenerated by rotary decompression evaporation, and residues were obtained. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), thermal analysis, nuclear magnetic resonance, scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy were used to verify that these residues were brominated epoxy resins. From FT-IR analysis after the dissolution of brominated epoxy resins in DMSO it was deduced that hydrogen bonding may play an important role in the dissolution mechanism. This novel technology offers a method for separating valuable materials and preventing environmental pollution from WPCBs.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Scientific techniques, Fourier transform, Infrared spectroscopy, Fourier transform spectroscopy, Printed circuit board, FR-4


Although printed circuit boards (PCBs) contain various elements, only the major elements (i.e., those with content levels in wt% or over grade) of and precious metals (e.g., Ag, Au, and platinum groups) contained within PCBs can be recycled. To recover other elements from PCBs, the PCBs should be properly disassembled as the first step of the recycling process. The recovery of these other elements would be beneficial for efforts to conserve scarce resources, reuse electric/electronic components (EECs), and eliminate environmental problems. This paper examines the disassembly of EECs from wasted PCBs (WPCBs) and the physical separation of these EECs using a self-designed disassembling apparatus and a 3-step separation process of sieving, magnetic separation, and dense medium separation. The disassembling efficiencies were evaluated by using the ratio of grinding area (E(area)) and the weight ratio of the detached EECs (E(weight)). In the disassembly treatment, these efficiencies were improved with an increase of grinder speed and grinder height. 97.7% (E(area)) and 98% (E(weight)) could be accomplished ultimately by 3 repetitive treatments at a grinder speed of 5500rpm and a grinder height of 1.5mm. Through a series of physical separations, most groups of the EECs (except for the diode, transistor, and IC chip groups) could be sorted at a relatively high separation efficiency of about 75% or more. To evaluate the separation efficiency with regard to the elemental composition, the distribution ratio (R(dis)) and the concentration ratio (R(conc)) were used. 15 elements could be separated with the highest R(dis) and R(conc) in the same separated division. This result implies that the recyclability of the elements is highly feasible, even though the initial content in EECs is lower than several tens of mg/kg.

Concepts: Ratio, Integrated circuit, Recycling, Printed circuit board, Breadboard, Electronic component, Multi-Chip Module, Ratio distribution


Separation of waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs) has been a bottleneck in WPCBs resource processing. In this study, the separation of WPCBs was performed using dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) as a solvent. Various parameters, which included solid to liquid ratio, temperature, WPCB sizes, and time, were studied to understand the separation of WPCBs by dissolving bromine epoxy resin using DMSO. Experimental results showed that the concentration of dissolving the bromine epoxy resin increased with increasing various parameters. The optimum condition of complete separation of WPCBs was solid to liquid ratio of 1:7 and WPCB sizes of 16mm(2) at 145°C for 60min. The used DMSO was vapored under the decompression, which obtained the regenerated DMSO and dissolved bromine epoxy resin. This clean and non-polluting technology offers a new way to separate valuable materials from WPCBs and prevent the environmental pollution of waste printed circuit boards effectively.

Concepts: Dimethyl sulfoxide, Printed circuit board, FR-4, Breadboard, Electronic engineering, Via


Recovery of valuable materials from waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs) is quite difficult because WPCBs is a heterogeneous mixture of polymer materials, glass fibers, and metals. In this study, WPCBs was treated using ionic liquid (1-ethyl-3-methylimizadolium tetrafluoroborate [EMIM(+)][BF(4)(-)]). Experimental results showed that the separation of the solders went to completion, and electronic components (ECs) were removed in WPCBs when [EMIM(+)][BF(4)(-)] solution containing WPCBs was heated to 240°C. Meanwhile, metallographic observations verified that the WPCBs had an initial delamination. When the temperature increased to 260°C, the separation of the WPCBs went to completion, and coppers and glass fibers were obtained. The used [EMIM(+)][BF(4)(-)] was treated by water to generate a solid-liquid suspension, which was separated completely to obtain solid residues by filtration. Thermal analyses combined with infrared ray spectra (IR) observed that the solid residues were bromine epoxy resins. NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) showed that hydrogen bond played an important role for [EMIM(+)][BF(4)(-)] dissolving bromine epoxy resins. This clean and non-polluting technology offers a new way to recycle valuable materials from WPCBs and prevent environmental pollution from WPCBs effectively.

Concepts: Nuclear magnetic resonance, Infrared, Printed circuit board, FR-4, Breadboard, Electronic engineering, Fiberglass, Electronic component


The technology used in the manufacturing of televisions and monitors has been changing in recent years. Monitors with liquid crystal displays (LCD) emerged in the market with the aim of replacing cathode ray tube monitors. As a result, the disposal of this type of product, which is already very high, will increase. Thus, without accurate knowledge of the components and materials present in an LCD monitor, the recycling of materials, such as mercury, thermoplastic polymers, glasses, metals and precious metals amongst others, is not only performed, but allows contamination of soil, water and air with the liberation of toxic compounds present in this type of waste when disposed of improperly. Therefore, the objective of this study was to disassemble and characterize the materials in this type of waste, identify the composition, amount and form to enable, in further work, the development of recycling routes. After various tests and analyses, it was observed that an LCD display can be recycled, provided that precautions are taken. Levels of lead, fluoride and copper are above those permitted by the Brazilian law, characterizing this residue as having a high pollution potential. The materials present in printed circuit boards (base and precious metals)-thermoplastics, such as polyethylene terephthalate, acrylic, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and polycarbonate and metals, such as steel and aluminum, and a layer of indium (in the internal face of the glass)-are components that make a point in terms of their potential for recycling.

Concepts: Liquid crystal display, Recycling, Liquid crystal, Thermoplastic, Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, Polyethylene terephthalate, Printed circuit board, Cathode ray tube


Life cycle assessment (LCA) was applied to hydrometallurgical treatments carried out using a new portable prototype plant for the recovery of valuable metals from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The plant was fed with the WEEE residues from physical processes for the recycling of fluorescent lamps, cathode ray tubes (CRTs), Li-ion accumulators and printed circuit boards (PCBs). Leaching with sulfuric acid was carried out, followed by metal recovery by selective precipitation. A final step of wastewater treatment with lime was performed. The recovered metals included yttrium, zinc, cobalt, lithium, copper, gold and silver. The category of global warming potential was the most critical one considering the specifications for southern European territories, with 13.3 kg CO2/kg recovered metal from the powders/residues from fluorescent lamps, 19.2 kg CO2/kg from CRTs, 27.0 kg CO2/kg from Li-ion accumulators and 25.9 kg CO2/kg from PCBs. Data also show that metal extraction steps have the highest load for the environment. In general, these processes appear beneficial for the environment in terms of CO2 emissions, especially for metal recovery from WEEE residues from fluorescent lamps and CRTs.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Zinc, Copper, Impact assessment, Global warming, Electronic waste, Printed circuit board, Cathode ray tube


Primitive processing of e-waste potentially releases abundant organic contaminants to the environment, but the magnitudes and mechanisms remain to be adequately addressed. We conducted thermal treatment and open burning of typical e-wastes, i.e., plastics and printed circuit boards. Emission factors of the sum of 39 polybrominated diphenyl ethers (∑39PBDE) were 817-1.60×105 in thermal treatment and non-detected-9.14×104 ng g-1 in open burning. Airborne particles (87%) were the main carriers of PBDEs, followed by residual ashes (13%) and gaseous constituents (0.3%), in thermal treatment, while they were 30%, 43% and 27.2% in open burning. The output-input mass ratios of ∑39PBDE were 0.123.76 in thermal treatment and 0-0.16 in open burning. All PBDEs were largely affiliated with fine particles, with geometric mean diameters at 0.61-0.83 μm in thermal degradation and 0.57-1.16 μm in open burning from plastic casings, and 0.44-0.56 and non-detected-0.55 μm from printed circuit boards. Evaporation and reabsorption may be the main emission mechanisms for lightly brominated BDEs, but heavily brominated BDEs tend to affiliate with particles from heating or combustion. The different size distributions of particulate PBDEs in emission sources and adjacent air implicated a noteworthy redisposition process during atmospheric dispersal.

Concepts: Oxygen, Air pollution, Electronic waste, Printed circuit board, FR-4, Breadboard, Electronic engineering, Via


Investigations into mechanisms in various cortical areas can be greatly improved and supported by stable recording of single neuronal activity. In this study, fine silicon wire electrodes (diameter 3 μm, length 160 μm) are fabricated by vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) growth with the aim of stabilizing recording and reducing the invasiveness on the measurement procedure. The electrode is fabricated on a modular 1 ×  1 mm(2) conductive silicon block that can be assembled into a number of different device packages, for example on rigid or flexible printed circuit boards (PCB). After plating with a 5 μm diameter platinum black, the needle exhibits an electrical impedance of ~100 kΩ at 1 kHz in saline. The in vivo recording capability of the device is demonstrated using mice, and spike signals with peak-to-peak amplitudes of 200-300 μV in the range 0.5-3 kHz are stably detected, including single-unit activities in cortical layer 2/3. In addition, the device packaged with a flexible PCB shows stable unit recordings for 98.5 min (n = 4). Consequently, our modular, low-invasive needle electrode block devices present an effective route for single-unit recordings in vivo, as well as demonstrating adaptability in device design for a diverse range of experiments.

Concepts: Electrical conductor, Electrochemistry, Cerebral cortex, Integrated circuit, Platinum, Printed circuit board, Electrodes, Gramophone record


Ultrathin silicon-based flexible 16 × 16 NAND flash memory (f-NAND) is demonstrated utilizing roll-to-plate packaging. The roll-based thermo-compression bonding of the anisotropic conductive film (ACF) transfers and simultaneously interconnects the f-NAND on a flexible printed circuit board. Reliable circuitry operation of the 16 × 16 f-NAND is confirmed with excellent flexibility and stable ACF interconnections.

Concepts: Electrical conductor, Integrated circuit, Printed circuit board, Breadboard, Electronic engineering, Flash memory, Electronics manufacturing