Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 461–469 | Cite as

Transforming Waste Printed Circuit Boards and Compact Discs for the Synthesis of Valuable Ferrosilicon Alloy

  • Ravindra Rajarao
  • Rifat FarzanaEmail author
  • Veena Sahajwalla
Research Article


E-waste is the toxic legacy of our digital age, polluting drinking water and harming ecosystems all over the world. Printed circuit board (PCB) and compact disc (CD) are key components in most of the electrical and electronic components and considered to be the most problematic waste to recycle due to their heterogeneous combination of metal, polymer, and ceramics. In this study, a novel approach to transform waste PCB as a silicon source and waste CD as reductant carbon is investigated to produce ferrosilicon alloy. Characterization of the nonmetallic fraction of PCB indicates the presence of 50% silica, and the waste CD char shows good-quality carbon as reductant. The ferrosilicon synthesis process is based on carbothermal reduction and is carried out at 1550 °C under an argon atmosphere. The synthesized product was characterized using XRD, Raman, and EDS analysis, and the results indicated that the ferrosilicon alloy phase was that of Fe3Si with 14.8% silicon. This innovative approach of utilizing e-waste for synthesizing ferrosilicon alloy can be a sustainable solution for recovering resources from electronic waste and minimizes the utilization of nonrenewable traditional raw materials.


Electronic waste Ferrosilicon Waste PCBs Waste CD Sustainability 



The financial support for this research was provided by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellowship under the Grant No. FL140100215.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT@UNSW), School of Materials Science and EngineeringUNSW SydneyKensington, SydneyAustralia

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