New polymer easily captures gold extracted from e-waste

The polymer, called COP-180, selectively captures gold after it has been leached from e-waste.

Enlarge / The polymer,
called COP-180, selectively captures gold after it has been leached
from e-waste. (credit: Yeongran
Hong
)

One thing holding back e-waste recycling is the actual recycling
process itself. We need cheaper, safer, cleaner, or more effective
methods of separating and recovering the valuable elements from
electronics before we can make the whole endeavor more attractive
and profitable. Some current methods use large amounts of energy to
melt components down, but chemistry could provide some tempting
alternatives.

A new study led by Yeongran Hong of the Korea Advanced Institute
of Science and Technology involves a chemical with an impressive
affinity for gold. Subject some circuit boards to an acid treatment
to release its materials and this stuff will gather up all the
dissolved gold. And after it lets go of that gold, it’s ready to
be used again.

The researchers’ gold-scrubber is based on an organic compound
called a porphyrin. Linked
together in a polymer, it possesses lots and lots of little pores
that, energetically, want to host a metal atom. That’s the kind
of structure chemists look for to help with recycling.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
New polymer easily captures gold extracted from
e-waste