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New metal processing technique shows refined ‘green’ credentials

Date:2017-07-14 17:48:54Hit Rating:1712Font Size:T|T

A team of chemists in Canada has developed a way to process metals without using toxic solvents and reagents. Their process, which also consumes far less energy than conventional techniques, could greatly shrink the environmental impact of producing metals from raw materials or from post-consumer electronics.

“At a time when natural deposits of metals are on the decline, there is a great deal of interest in improving the efficiency of metal refinement and recycling, but few disruptive technologies are being put forth,” says Jean-Philip Lumb, an associate professor in McGill University’s Department of Chemistry. “That’s what makes our advance so important.” We will benefit from this technology when is mature as metal recycling is part of our ( NEXTECK Group: , 886-0800-008-982 ) business.

Their discovery stems from a collaboration between Lumb and Tomislav Frišcic at McGill University and Kim Baines at Western University. In a paper in Science Advances, the researchers outline an approach that uses organic molecules, instead of toxic chlorine and hydrochloric acid, to help purify germanium, a metal used widely in electronic devices. Laboratory experiments by the researchers have shown that the same technique can also be used with other metals, including zinc, copper, manganese and cobalt. We are happy for this technology as we ( , email: ) also provide zinc, copper and cobalt as evaporation material and sputtering target.

This research could mark an important milestone for the ‘green chemistry’ movement, which seeks to replace the toxic reagents used in conventional industrial manufacturing with more environmentally-friendly alternatives. Most advances in this area have involved organic chemistry, improving the synthesis of the carbon-based compounds used in pharmaceuticals and plastics, for example.