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Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1355: Feasibility Study on S-Band Microwave Radiation and 3D-Thermal Infrared Imaging Sensor-Aided Recognition of Polymer Materials from End-of-Life Vehicles

Sensors, Vol. 18, Pages 1355: Feasibility Study on S-Band Microwave Radiation and 3D-Thermal Infrared Imaging Sensor-Aided Recognition of Polymer Materials from End-of-Life Vehicles

Sensors doi: 10.3390/s18051355

Authors: Jiu Huang Zhuangzhuang Zhu Chuyuan Tian Zhengfu Bian

With the increase the worldwide consumption of vehicles, end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) have kept rapidly increasing in the last two decades. Metallic parts and materials of ELVs can be easily reused and recycled, but the automobile shredder residues (ASRs), of which elastomer and plastic materials make up the vast majority, are difficult to recycle. ASRs are classified as hazardous materials in the main industrial countries, and are required to be materially recycled up to 85–95% by mass until 2020. However, there is neither sufficient theoretical nor practical experience for sorting ASR polymers. In this research, we provide a novel method by using S-Band microwave irradiation together with 3D scanning as well as infrared thermal imaging sensors for the recognition and sorting of typical plastics and elastomers from the ASR mixture. In this study, an industrial magnetron array with 2.45 GHz irradiation was utilized as the microwave source. Seven kinds of ELV polymer (PVC, ABS, PP, EPDM, NBR, CR, and SBR) crushed scrap residues were tested. After specific power microwave irradiation for a certain time, the tested polymer materials were heated up to different extents corresponding to their respective sensitivities to microwave irradiation. Due to the variations in polymer chemical structure and additive agents, polymers have different sensitivities to microwave radiation, which leads to differences in temperature rises. The differences of temperature increase were obtained by a thermal infrared sensor, and the position and geometrical features of the tested scraps were acquired by a 3D imaging sensor. With this information, the scrap material could be recognized and then sorted. The results showed that this method was effective when the tested polymer materials were heated up to more than 30 °C. For full recognition of the tested polymer scraps, the minimum temperature variations of 5 °C and 10.5 °C for plastics and elastomers were needed, respectively. The sorting efficiency was independent of particle sizes but depended on the power and time of the microwave irradiation. Generally, more than 75% (mass) of the tested polymer materials could be successfully recognized and sorted under an irradiation power of 3 kW. Plastics were much more insensitive to microwave irradiation than elastomers. With this method, the tested mixture of the plastic group (PVC, ABS, PP) and the mixture of elastomer group (EPDM, NBR, CR, and SBR) could be fully separated with an efficiency of 100%.

Authors:   Huang, Jiu ; Zhu, Zhuangzhuang ; Tian, Chuyuan ; Bian, Zhengfu
Journal:   Sensors
Volume:   18
edition:   5
Year:   2018
Pages:   1355
DOI:   10.3390/s18051355
Publication date:   27-Apr-2018
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