A DEM simulation for appropriate comminution to concentrate tantalum from waste printed circuit boards

Yuki Tsunazawa, Kazuki Tahara, Shinobu Ogino, Chiharu Tokoro, Shuji Owada

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are an important constituent of waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE), and contain many electronic components with valuable, hazardous or both materials. Recycling of PCBs is an important subject not only from the treatment of waste but also from the recovery of valuable materials. Demand for rare earth metals is expected to accelerate because of their growing use in next generation high technologies. Since some of these metals are concentrated in a specific electronic component, for example, Ta in capacitors, a special and selective grinding such as parts detachment from the board is effective for the recycling of a part of rare metals. However, direct computer simulation method to investigate a comminution/detachment process of PCBs has not yet been established. In this study, our objective was revealing the mechanism of breakage phenomena in comminution/detachment process of PCBs using computer simulation. A special and selective grinding using an agitation mill promoted the removal of components from a PCB by detachment and was an effective method for the recovery of rare metals. Simulant PCBs on which some capacitors were solder-mounted were used for the comminution test using drum type mill with agitator. To describe this mechanism of the parts detachment process, a computer simulation using discrete element method (DEM) was conducted. Although only an indirect simulation using the spherical particle model was possible for part detachment and board breakage, the particle-based rigid body model could directly represent the behaviour of PCBs. Simulation results successfully corresponded to comminution experimental results.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIMPC 2014 - 27th International Mineral Processing Congress
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    Event27th International Mineral Processing Congress, IMPC 2014 - Santiago, Chile
    Duration: 2014 Oct 202014 Oct 24


    Other27th International Mineral Processing Congress, IMPC 2014

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Earth-Surface Processes
    • Geochemistry and Petrology
    • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
    • Mechanical Engineering


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