Processing plastics from ASR/ESR waste: separation of poly vinyl chloride (PVC) by froth flotation after microwave-assisted surface modification

  • Srinivasa Reddy Mallampati
  • Chi-Hyeon Lee
  • Min Hee Park
  • Byeong-Kyu Lee


The feasibility of the selective surface hydrophilization of poly vinyl chloride (PVC) using microwave treatment to facilitate the separation of PVC via froth flotation from automobile shredder residue (ASR) and electronic waste shredder residue (ESR) was evaluated. In the presence of powder-activated carbon (PAC), 60-s microwave treatment selectively enhanced the hydrophilicity of the PVC surface (i.e., the PVC contact angle decreased from 86.8° to 69.9°). The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) results are consistent with increased hydrophilic functional groups (i.e., ether, hydroxyl, and carboxyl), amounting to significant changes in the morphology and roughness of the PVC surface after treatment. After only 60 s of microwave treatment, 20 % of the PVC was separated in virgin and ASR/ESR plastics with 33 and 29 % purity, respectively, as settled fractions by froth flotation at a 150 rpm mixing speed. The microwave treatment with the addition of PAC had a synergetic effect with the froth flotation, which brought about 100 and 90 % selective separation of PVC from the other virgin and ASR/ESR plastics, with 91 and 82 % purity. The use of the combined froth flotation and microwave treatments is an effective technology for separating PVC from hazardous waste plastics.


Hydrophilic PVC ASR ESR Microwave treatment Froth floatation Waste plastics 



This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Education (2014R1A1A2055487).


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Srinivasa Reddy Mallampati
    • 1
  • Chi-Hyeon Lee
    • 1
  • Min Hee Park
    • 1
  • Byeong-Kyu Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of UlsanUlsanRepublic of Korea

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