Application of fluidization to separate packaging waste plastics

M Teresa Carvalho, Célia Ferreira, Antía Portela, João Tiago Santos
Waste Management 2009, 29 (3): 1138-43
The objective of the experimental work described in this paper is the study of the separation of PS (polystyrene) from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) from drop-off points using a fluidized bed separator. This is a low-cost process commonly used in the hydro-classification of mineral ores. Firstly, experimental tests were carried out with artificial granulated samples with different grain sizes, types and sources of plastic ("separability tests"). The particle settling velocities were determined under different operating conditions. Then, based on the results, the laboratory tests continued with real mixtures of waste plastics ("separation tests") and the efficiency of the process was evaluated. From a PET-rich mixture, a concentrate of PS with a 75% grade in PS was produced while the underflow was quite clear from PS (grade less than 0.5% in PS).

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