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Discover graphene, the world's philosopher's stone: Just 1 gram of the mineral is capable of extracting more than 95% of the gold in discarded electronics on the planet

Written by Flavia Marinho
Published 20/05/2024 às 06:32
graphene - gold - electronic - philosopher's stone
Graphene, the philosopher's stone of the world! Only 1 gram of the mineral is capable of extracting more than 95% of the gold in discarded electronics! Extracts gold without the help of mercury. New Atlas image

Graphene recovers gold without the risks of mercury, promises to revolutionize mining and reduce the environmental problem of electronic waste in the world.

Discarded electronics can be a gold mine – literally. A study carried out by Chinese researchers from Tsinghua University, the Institute of Advanced Technology of Shenzhen under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and British Metals Research Institute under CAS and the University of Manchester recently discovered that reduced graphene oxide can extract gold from electronic waste with high efficiency and without needing other chemicals or energy.

In addition to its superficial uses in jewelry, gold is prized for use in electronic components thanks to its high electrical conductivity and ease of working. But electronic devices have a high turnover, and the recovery of gold and other precious metals is a process that is often complicated, inefficient, and requires chemicals or high heat.

But now, researchers have developed a much simpler method for recovering gold from electronic waste. All it takes is some graphene.

Graphene as a philosopher's stone: extracting gold from waste, watch the video below and check it out!

Just 1 gram of graphene is enough to extract over 95% of the gold in a given sample!

First, e-waste is ground and then dissolved in a solution. A membrane made of reduced graphene oxide is added, and within a few minutes, pure gold begins to accumulate on the surface of the membrane.

Just 1 gram of graphene is enough to extract almost twice that amount of gold, attracting over 95% of the gold in a given sample, even at concentrations as low as one part per billion. Importantly, it does not attract other metals into the e-waste mix, and subsequently the graphene membrane can be burned, leaving pure gold behind. The new method could allow the gold in electronics to be recycled rather than wasted

Graphene will help reduce the growing environmental problem of e-waste

“This apparent magic is essentially a simple electrochemical process,” said the Dr. Yang Su, main author of the study. “Unique interactions between graphene and gold ions drive the process and also produce exceptional selectivity. Only gold is extracted without other ions or salts.”

The team says the technique could help reduce the amount of gold that goes to waste, as well as reducing the growing environmental problem of e-waste. Other scientists have solved the problem by using solvents made largely from vinegar or other mild acids, or by designing circuit boards that crumble when placed in hot water.

I'd love to know what you think of this new technology using graphene. Let us know in the comments section. Don't forget to leave 5 stars and activate CPG notifications to keep up with all the latest news from the technological world. To the next!

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Flavia Marinho

Flavia Marinho is a Production Engineer with a postgraduate degree in Electrical and Automation Engineering, with extensive experience in the onshore and offshore shipbuilding industry. In recent years, she has dedicated herself to writing articles for news websites in the areas of industry, oil and gas, energy, shipbuilding, geopolitics, jobs and courses, with more than 7 thousand articles published. Her technical expertise and communication skills make her a respected reference in her field. Contact us to suggest an agenda, advertise job vacancies or advertise on our portal.

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