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Leaching behavior of copper powders from waste printed circuit board by electrogenerated chlorine and aeration

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2013, Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 79-84

Zhu, Ping; Chen, Yan; Hao, Ying; Qian, Guangren; Fan, Z.Y.; Zhou, Ming


The leaching behavior of copper powders recovered from waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs) was investigated using electrogenerated chlorine and aeration in a sulfuric acid solution with added NaCl and CuSO4. Various parameters were studied to understand the mechanism of the copper leaching. When the current density increased from 0 to 0.1 A/cm2, the temperature from 30 to 60° C, agitation speed from 100 to 400 rpm, and the size ranged from below 75 to 150 μm, the leaching ratios of copper powders increased. The leaching kinetics were analyzed using a shrinking core model: 1-(1-X)1/3 = kt, and the leaching process was chemically controlled with an activation energy of 14.7 kJ/mol due to Cl- ion catalysis. The ratios of [Cu+]/[Cu2+] at various temperatures (30, 40, 50, 60 and 70° C) showed a periodic variation with the increasing of the leaching time. The redox potentials of the leaching solution and copper leaching ratios in different conditions were measured. The result indicates that dissolved oxygen achieved the dissolution of coppers and electrogenerated chlorine can promote the dissolution of copper powders and improve the reaction rate of kinetics in the presence of oxygen.