Cleaner Production

The original proposal for recovering the copper in high-quality form came from the U.K. Electricity Research Council. Using an electrolytic technique involving a divided cell (Figure 1.8), simultaneous

Cathode

Regenerated etchant

Copper-rich etchant

Cathode

Regenerated etchant

Copper-rich etchant

Controlled bleed

FIGURE 1.8 Electrolytic process. (From Wang, L.K. et al. Case Studies of Cleaner Production and Site Remediation, Training Manual DTT-5-4-95, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Industrial Sectors and Environment Division, Vienna, Austria, April 1995.)

Controlled bleed

Copper flakes

FIGURE 1.8 Electrolytic process. (From Wang, L.K. et al. Case Studies of Cleaner Production and Site Remediation, Training Manual DTT-5-4-95, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Industrial Sectors and Environment Division, Vienna, Austria, April 1995.)

regeneration of the etching solution and recovery of the unwanted copper is possible. A special membrane allows hydrogen and chloride ions through, but not the copper. The copper is transferred via a bleed valve and recovered at the cathode as pure flakes (Equation 1.2). In the electrolytic process:

This process was enabled by the development of a suitable cell-dividing material; a process development where the excess etchant is pumped to the recovery circuit and the copper is obtained in a recoverable form.

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