To establish an effective recycling process for waste appliances, the process of recovering printed circuit boards (PCBs) containing valuable elements in comminution was investigated and evaluated. The present study performed comminution tests using three different types of waste appliances: smartphones, microwave ovens and electrical rice cookers. Comminution tests showed that a drum-type agitation mill operated at a mid-range rotation speed could achieve a relatively high recovery ratio of PCBs and inhibit excessive breakage of PCBs. Following these experiments, simulations using the discrete element method with a particle-based rigid-body model were conducted to evaluate the comminution performance of the drum-type agitation mill. Experimental and simulation results confirm that the processes of detachment of PCBs from waste appliances and subsequent breakage can be expressed by kinetic equations related to collision energy. It is concluded from these results that the kinetic equations obtained in experiments and simulations can be used to evaluate the recovery process of PCBs from waste appliances.
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