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Electrodynamic fragmentation

The Centre for Resource Efficiency conducts research into modern methods for separating materials from complex mixtures. The primary focus here is electrodynamic fragmentation.

High-voltage pulses are applied to build up a high pressure along phase boundaries for a short time so that ideally the materials can be isolated and recovered by means of suitable subsequent processes (cf. diagram). As is usually the case with new developments, the normal teething troubles have to be overcome: minimising cost and energy consumption, adapting the method to different materials, including anything from asphalt to lithium batteries, etc. Initial success has been achieved on various projects but further work is still required.

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The functional principle of electrodynamic fragmentation

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Fragmentation of waste concrete

Switzerland is often referred to as the world champion of recycling. Strictly speaking, however, this only applies to materials that are relatively easily to recycle such as aluminium, glass and paper. As far as complex mixtures are concerned such as electronic scrap or mass quantities of waste that is difficult to separate – waste concrete, for example – recycling rates of the materials involved still leave much to be desired. One of the reasons for this is the lack of suitable separat-ing techniques.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Heim, Head of the Centre Contact