A Concrete Method for Recycling Printed Circuit Boards

Friday, February 17, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Heather Wing, Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science, Worcester, MA
Impoverished countries are being negatively affected by the harmful contents of exported waste, specifically electronic waste, from wealthy countries. Printed circuit boards are a major contributor to the total mass of electronic waste because the nonmetals from the boards, which are composed of FR4 epoxy resin laminate, are not being recycled. One method of reusing this material is in concrete as a fine aggregate. This project focuses on integrating FR4 into concrete and studying its effects on the compressive strength of concrete, so as to ensure that it is a feasible material for concrete and proving that this process is a feasible recycling method. During experimentation, FR4 plates were blended into fine pieces. The pieces were combined with Portland Cement and varying amounts of sand to make concrete mixtures which were cast into molds. The compressive strength of the cured concrete was tested and the weight at concrete failure was recorded. Analysis revealed that FR4 is not only a feasible fine aggregate but also a better replacement for typical aggregates. T-Tests were run on the three criteria, compressive strength, setting time, and weight, showed that all data was statistically significant. Additional research could be carried out to study using FR4 in other materials.