Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cracking The Case Of Recycled Gadgets

Date:
October 23, 2008
Source:
Inderscience
Summary:
Recycling devices built with plastic cases and other components, such as mobile phones, mp3 players, and personal digital assistants, is difficult and requires repetitive manual labor. However, a new approach to creating the fastenings and tabs for such devices based on the shape-memory effect in plastics could mean that disassembling such devices at end of life could be automated.

Recycling devices built with plastic cases and other components, such as mobile phones, mp3 players, and personal digital assistants, is difficult and requires repetitive manual labour. However, a new approach to creating the fastenings and tabs for such devices based on the shape-memory effect in plastics could mean that disassembling such devices at end of life could be automated.

The approach would allow valuable components and metals to be recovered more efficiently from the millions of devices discarded every year, according to research to be published in the International Journal of Product Development.

Habib Hussein and David Harrison of the School of Engineering and Design at Brunel University, UK, explain that Europe's WEEE regulations, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive, are aimed at tackling the growing stream of waste electrical and electronic goods in order to reduce landfill usage and waste that is incinerated. The regulations mean that there are now incentives to design equipment that is more recyclable.

"Product disassembly offers one method for reducing the landfill and enabling compliance with legislative targets by optimising the recovery of hazardous and valuable components during the recycling process. However, manual disassembly is a time-consuming and thus costly process, in terms of either financial or social impact," the researchers say.

They have now investigated the possibility of Active Disassembly using Smart Materials (ADSM). ADSM uses materials that can act as fasteners within a product, which at product end of life, can be undone simply by direct heating. This releases the fasteners causing the device case to fall apart without screws having to be undone or stiff clasps opened manually. This is one important design feature that might make recycling electronic devices with plastic cases much easier.

Their concept relies on the so-called shape memory effect in engineering plastics, or polymers. Plastics can be fabricated in one shape - the unfastened state - and then moulded a second time into a new shape - the fastened state. When the fastened state version is heated, the plastic will revert to its original, unfastened state, as it retains a molecular memory of the form in which it was originally produced.

The researchers have developed a case-fastening device based on one such shape memory polymer. Their tests demonstrated that lowering the device at end of life into hot water, leads to the fasteners reverting to their unfastened state and the case falling apart, on agitation. They have also shown that the fasteners retain their integrity for at least two years without disassembling spontaneously.

"Standard-engineering polymers may be used to produce reliable long-term shape memory effect fastening devices to enable the efficient end of life treatment of WEEE," the researchers conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Inderscience. "Cracking The Case Of Recycled Gadgets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081022222905.htm>.
Inderscience. (2008, October 23). Cracking The Case Of Recycled Gadgets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081022222905.htm
Inderscience. "Cracking The Case Of Recycled Gadgets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081022222905.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Japan Looks To Faster Future As Bullet Train Turns 50

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) Japan's bullet train turns 50 Wednesday. Here's a look at how it's changed over half a century — and the changes it's inspired globally. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

US Police Put Body Cameras to the Test

AFP (Oct. 1, 2014) Police body cameras are gradually being rolled out across the US, with interest surging after the fatal police shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

Raw: Japan Celebrates 'bullet Train' Anniversary

AP (Oct. 1, 2014) A ceremony marking 50 years since Japan launched its Shinkansen bullet train was held on Wednesday in Tokyo. The latest model can travel from Tokyo to Osaka, a distance of 319 miles, in two hours and 25 minutes. (Oct. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins