2009 Volume 50 Issue 12 Pages 2844-2847
The development of mechanical methods for plastic-plastic separation is important for recycling of scrapped plastics of office/home appliances and cars. This paper proposes a Hybrid-Jig as a new method for plastic-plastic separation. The Hybrid-Jig was developed based on jigging and flotation, where air bubbles are introduced into the particle bed during jigging to modify the apparent specific gravity of the particles by the attachment of air bubbles to the particles so that particles having different surface properties can be separated by jigging even if their specific gravities are similar.
To demonstrate the performance of the Hybrid-Jig, a laboratory scale TACUB jig was modified to induce air bubbles through the screen under the particle bed, and separation experiments of plastic particle mixtures were carried out under various displacements and frequencies of water pulsation. Feed samples were particle mixtures of two plastics chosen from eight kinds of plastics (3 of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), 4 of polyethylene (PE), and 1 of polyethylene terephthalate (PET)). The particles were cylindrical of 2–3 mm length and diameter, and their specific gravities were 1.05–1.55.
In normal jig operation (without air bubbles), plastic particles with similar specific gravities were difficult to separate, but they were easily separated by the Hybrid-Jig, when air bubbles adsorbed on the surface of the more hydrophobic plastics, and the plastic particles with air bubbles were recovered as top product due to the decrease in apparent specific gravity. Because the differences in the hydrophobicity of the plastics cause the selective bubble attachment, high grade plastic products over 99.9 mass% were recovered by the Hybrid-Jig even for plastic mixtures having the same specific gravity.