愛地球,IBM 找到將廢棄手機轉化為醫療級塑材的方法

作者 | 發布日期 2016 年 06 月 29 日 15:57 | 分類 手機 , 環境科學 , 醫療科技 follow us in feedly
達志影像不得重複使用!!!
Old cellular phone components are discarded inside a workshop in the township of Guiyu in China's southern Guangdong province June 10, 2015. The town of Guiyu in the economic powerhouse of Guangdong province in China has long been known as one of the world’s largest electronic waste dump sites. At its peak, some 5,000 workshops in the village recycle 15,000 tonnes of waste daily including hard drives, mobile phones, computer screens and computers shipped in from across the world. Many of the workers, however, work in poorly ventilated workshops with little protective gear, prying open discarded electronics with their bare hands. Plastic circuit boards are also melted down to salvage bits of valuable metals such as gold, copper and aluminum. As a result, large amounts of pollutants, heavy metals and chemicals are released into the rivers nearby, severely contaminating local water supplies, devastating farm harvests and damaging the health of residents. The stench of burnt plastic envelops the small town of Guiyu, while some rivers are black with industrial effluent. According to research conducted by Southern China’s Shantou University, Guiyu’s air and water is heavily contaminated by toxic metal particles. As a result, children living there have abnormally high levels of lead in their blood, the study found. While most of the e-waste was once imported into China and processed in Guiyu, much more of the discarded e-waste now comes from within China as the country grows in affluence. China now produces 6.1 million metric tonnes of e-waste a year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, second only to the U.S with 7.2 million tonnes. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu 

PICTURE 12 OF 18 FOR WIDER IMAGE STORY "WORLD'S LARGEST ELECTRONIC WASTE DUMP"
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隨著科技日漸發達,電子垃圾製造的速度飛快地令人束手無策。不過 IBM 近期的一項發現或許有助於改善這個情況。研究人員找到了新的回收製程,可以將用在智慧型手機與 CD 上的聚碳酸酯(PC),轉變為符合醫療安全與強度需求的無毒塑膠材料。



除了智慧型手機與 CD,聚碳酸酯也用在 LED 螢幕、藍光播放機、眼鏡鏡片、廚房用具和家中的儲藏櫃等地方。估計全球每年將近 270 萬噸的聚碳酸酯被製造出來。不幸的是,為了合成聚碳酸酯,它們都含有酚甲烷(BPA),這種環境賀爾蒙隨著時間分解釋放,會擾亂人體的內分泌,並對腦部造成影響。

回到 2008 年,當酚甲烷會從嬰兒奶瓶、可重複使用的飲料杯中釋放出來的新聞在美國被大肆報導後,零售商紛紛將相關產品下架。既然以聚碳酸酯製成的產品無法完全回收,那麼將這些廢料加以再利用的迫切性便顯而易見。

在 IBM 進行的實驗中,碳酸鹽(carbonate salt)扮演了兩個重要的催化作用,首先是透過親核攻擊(nucleophilic attack)分解聚碳酸酯,接著在聚醚形成的過程中,它促進苯酚二聚體(phenolate dimers)與芳基氟化物(aryl fluorides)作用成型的反應。在添加氟化物產生反應後,IBM 的研究人員研發出比聚碳酸酯更耐高溫與抗化學侵蝕的全新塑料,用在過濾水質跟醫療器材上安全無虞,且將來還能進一步應用在光纖上面。此外,這款材料強度也夠高,能夠耐分解,避免酚甲烷釋出。

研究人員指出,在防止這些塑膠廢料進入垃圾掩埋場的同時,他們回收這類物質,建立了預測模型並進行實驗,找到將廢塑料轉化成新材質的方法。將來可以應用在許多方面,在環境保護上打了漂亮的一仗。

(首圖來源:達志影像) 

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