Evaluation method of metal resource recyclability based on thermodynamic analysis

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Currently, several metals are commercially recycled from by-products and wastes by metallurgical processing. However, the metallurgical process has each characteristic, which causes limitation for resource recovery. The combinations of elements in secondary resources, such as byproducts and wastes, are often different from those in natural resources. There are even combinations that are not present in natural resources. Conventional metallurgical processes have been optimized for economical and efficient extraction of desired elements only from large amount of ores under constant grade. Therefore, in order to extract metals from secondary resources by the conventional metallurgical process, it is necessary to estimate the recoverability of the constituent elements by taking into account their chemical properties well in advance. In particular, analysis for combination of elements is significantly important. In this study, we developed the evaluation method of metal resources recyclability based on thermodynamic analysis, and made clear the element distribution among gas, slag and metal phases during metal recovery based on thermodynamic analysis. In an application of the method shows that Cu, and precious metals (Ag, Au, Ft, Pd) present in mobile phones can be recovered as metals in the pyrometallurgy process of Cu in a converter, while Pb and Zn can be recovered as vapor. Other elements distributed in the slag phase are difficult to recover. The result of our analysis reflects the trends observed in the distribution of metals in copper metallurgy, thereby indicating the validity of our proposed evaluation method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-460
Number of pages8
JournalMaterials Transactions
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar


  • Material flow analysis
  • Metal
  • Recycle
  • Substance flow analysis
  • Thermodynamic analysis


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