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Characterization and Recovery of Mercury From Electrical Manufacturing Wastes by Thermal Desorption
  • Published Date:
    1/1/2010
Filetype[PDF - 978.27 KB]


Details:
  • Description:
    The U.S. Bureau of Mines characterized Hg-containing wastes and used a thermal-desorption process to remove and recover the contained Hg. The wastes were generated by an electrical-parts plant engaged in the assembly of Hg-containing switches and contained phenolic resins and paper insulating materials mixed with soil. The average Hg content was 396 ppm. Numerous characterization tests showed the Hg was tightly absorbed and could not be removed or concentrated by leaching or gravity separation techniques. Laboratory retort tests showed the Hg content reduced to < 16 ppm in 2 h at 400 °C; rotary-kiln, thermal-desorption tests required 4 h at 450 °C. Airflow through the retort im¬proved thermal-desorption efficiency, but vacuum operation only slightly reduced the temperature needed for thermal desorption. Offgases from decomposition of organic materials were burned in a high-temperature afterburner and subsequently cooled in a heat exchanger to condense water vapor. Finally, the Hg vapor was condensed and absorbed from the offgas by activated charcoal. Mercury recovery was over 99.99 pct of the desorbed Hg. Thermal-desorption processes have had wide application to many Hg-containing wastes, and historical experience in Hg mining has demonstrated its potential cost effectiveness.

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