Environmentally Sustainable Solvent-based Process Chemistry for Metals in Printed Circuit Boards

Karl S Ryder, Andrew Ballantyne, Emma J R Palin, Emma L Smith, Andrew Abbott

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapter


This chapter describes the development of several new processes relating to the fabrication, characterisation and recycling of printed circuit board (PCB) metal assemblies in alternative, sustainable solvent technologies based on an emergent class of liquids know as deep eutectic solvents (DES). It has been demonstrated that in many cases, the use of DES technologies can be disruptive to current process thinking and in principle can deliver benefits including increased efficiency,lower costs and better process control. These technologies offer the opportunity to incorporate new ideas into PCB fabrication and assembly that facilitate downstream, end-of-life recovery and separation consistent with a circular economy model. Current PCB manufacturing is carried out using many complex metal deposition processes involving aqueous solutions of toxic metal salts, strong inorganic acids, precious and expensive noble metals, and requires careful process control and monitoring. As a result, these processes are often costly to operate and inefficient. DES-based technologies can: (1) improve the economic and efficient use of essential metals; (2) reduce or eliminate use of precious and expensive metals; (3) reduce the use of complex and difficult to maintain process chemistry; (4) reduce reliance on toxic and noxious materials; and (5) improve recovery, recycling and reuse of PCB metals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElectronic Waste Management 2nd edition
PublisherRoyal Society of Chemistry
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78801-892-0
ISBN (Print)978-1-78801-744-2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2019

Publication series

NameIssues in Environmental Science and Technology
PublisherThe Royal Society of Chemistry
ISSN (Print)1350-7583
ISSN (Electronic)1350-7583


  • Waste management


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