Assessment of sampling and chemical analysis of waste printed circuit boards from WEEE: gold content determination
Waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs) from discarded mobile phones and smartphones are considerably heterogeneous materials with a high gold content (approx. 490 grams per ton). The aim of our chemical analysis of samples of WPCBs was to determine the amounts of gold using open acid digestion and atomic absorption spectrometry (HR CS AAS). The test samples designated for chemical analysis must genuinely represent the bulk WPCBs from which they are taken. This study aimed to develop a correct sampling procedure to analyze the heterogeneous materials from printed circuit boards; explicitly concerning the influence of particle size on the precision of chemical analysis of WPCBs from discarded mobile phones. Chemical analysis of the representative sample of WPCBs with a grain size fraction of d ≤ 200 μm determined that the gold content was 475 g∙t-1 with a low variation coefficient and low dispersion which indicates very high accuracy of the designed sampling procedure.
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