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Partic. vol. 45 pp. 74-80 (August 2019)
doi: 10.1016/j.partic.2018.12.002

Recovery of valuable metals from waste cables by employing mechanical processing followed by spouted bed elutriation

Eduardo H.Tanabe*, Roger M. Silva, Daliomar L. Oliveira Júnior, Daniel A. Bertuol

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    • All the materials were separated and characterized from waste cables. • Copper can be recycled and re-used several times without any loss of performance. • The recycling processes of waste cables are usually set to recover metals. • Spouted bed elutriation was used to separate the valuable components of the cables.


Cables and wires, which are essential parts of equipment for the transmission of both information and electricity, contain valuable materials including copper (Cu) and aluminum (Al). This experimental work evaluates the use of mechanical processing (grinding and sieving), followed by spouted bed elutriation, for separation of the valuable materials (steel-coated copper, copper, and aluminum) present in waste coaxial and internet cables. A recovery efficiency of approximately 90% was achieved for the steel-coated copper in coaxial cables. For internet cables, the copper recovery efficiency was approximately 87%. These findings demonstrate that it is possible to separate, recover, and recycle the valuable materials (metals) present in waste cables using simple, low-cost, and efficient mechanical processing followed by spouted bed elutriation.

Graphical abstract


Waste cable; Elutriation; Copper; Recycling; Mechanical process