New technology tested by Korean scientists increases the rate of recovery when extracting precious metals from waste, according to a new study from Chemical Engineering Journal.
Recovery with the new technology is 99.9%, Dr. Jae Woo Choi and Dr. Kyung-Won Jung from the Center for Water Cycle Research at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) said.
Scientists developed a capsule-like material with a multi-layered internal structure at core surrounded by a polymeric shell, Phys.org reported the findings as saying.
The material traps gold ions from leaving the capsule, and also prevents clogging the internal porous structure. Gold can be recovered by introducing functional groups which only react with gold ions in the internal structure, Phys.org reported.
Gold was able to be recovered even in the presence of 14 types of ions and three types of suspended solids, the study found.
The material retained its 99.9% recovery capacity even when reused 10 times, the scientists found.
"It can be immediately applied to related industrial processes, as they can be easily synthesised in large quantities," the study authors wrote.
Korean companies will work to incorporate this technology.
"The results of this research are expected to serve as a basis for the development of the first eco-friendly process in Korea that can selectively recover and refine metal resources from waste and precious metal scraps generated in various industries, such as automobiles and petrochemicals."