Update on Recovering Lead From Scrap Batteries
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Previous work at the Bureau of Mines Rolla Research Center, U.S. Department of the Interior, resulted in successful development of a bench-scale, combination electrorefining-electrowinning method for recycling lead from scrap batteries by using waste fluosilicic acid (H2SiF6) as electrolyte.1,2 This paper describes larger scale experiments. Prior attempts to electrowin lead failed because large quantities of insoluble lead dioxide were deposited on the anodes at the expense of lead deposition on the cathodes. A major breakthrough was achieved with the discovery that lead dioxide formation at the anodes is prevented by adding a small amount of phosphorus to the electrolyte. The amount of PbO2 formed on the anodes during lead electrowinning was less than 1% of the total lead deposited on the cathodes. This work recently won the prestigious IR·100 award as one of the 100 most significant technological advances of 1984.
KeywordsSludge SiF4 Lead Dioxide Lead Powder Lead Deposit
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