Archivo de la etiqueta: material

New adhesive system makes a circuit board that is 90% recyclable

Three British companies have developed a system that means components can easily be separated by hot water
Circuit boards

Circuit boards are made with a thermoset of glass that isn’t easily recyclable. Photograph: Leah Borromeo

Three British companies have developed a 90% recyclable and reusable circuit board, whose components can be easily separated by soaking in hot water. Funded by the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board with a view to help industry conform to European electronic waste regulation, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), In2Tec and Gwent Electronic Materials have devised an adhesive that helps manufacturers take apart electronic circuit boards and reuse their components to make new components. They call it ReUse – Reusable, Unzippable, Sustainable Electronics.

“What happens to end of life electronics is one of the fastest growing waste streams,” says Chris Hunt, head of the Electronics Interconnection Team at NPL. “Existing electronic circuit assemblies are based on reinforced epoxy glass systems and solder. A circuit board itself is a significant part of a final product but it’s made with a thermoset of glass that isn’t easily recyclable.


We looked at how you might make a circuit assembly that could disassemble easily when you no longer had a use for that appliance.

The result was a new adhesive and ink system, which allows the team to put components onto a thermoplastic substrate with a conductive adhesive and make a circuit. A substrate is a solid onto which another solid is applied and that solid adheres to the first. A thermoplastic is something quite pliable at high temperatures but cools down to a rigid solid. The thermoplastic substrate produced by the team can be recycled.

The novelty of what NPL and its partners have developed is demonstrated when a circuit is exposed to water that is just about boiling. In the presence of hot water the ink and the adhesive soften so significantly that all the components on the circuit are easily scraped off with a business card and can be reused for new circuits. It seems laborious and Hunt agrees that they’ve a while to go before their innovation becomes scaleable for use by the likes of Apple or larger electronics manufacturers.

“This is definitely not a solution for all types of electronic technologies,” Hunt continues, agreeing that some types of tech such as high-end servers and performance electronics operate at temperatures too high for ReUse.

However, their business partner In2Tec has already gained a few clients in the automotive industry off the back of this technology..”

Hunt says “there would have to be a step-change in a manufacturer’s mindset to embrace this technology and until there is legislative pressure to change, they will stick with what they know. What you get with ReUse is the ability to take apart and recover your components and reuse them. But until there is a pressure to change, manufacturers will stick with what they know.”

NPL and its partners say they haven’t used any restricted elements or compounds and around 90% of what they have constructed can be reused. “It’s very difficult to throw away much,” says Hunt. “And when you look at how they currently make things, that’s huge.”

The design hub is funded by Nike. All content is editorially independent except for pieces labelled advertisement feature. Find out more here.

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What do a ramp and a computer have in common? An experimental test on matters of care for matter



Last September, Tomás Sánchez-Criado and myself participated in the CRESC 2013 Annual Conference: In/vulnerabilities and social change: precarious lives and experimental knowledge, on the  4th-6th September in London. 



We coordinated a Panel about ‘Matters of care for matter’, together with Jérôme Denis & David Pontille (Telecom ParisTech & Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation) and also Daniel López (UOC). There, we presented a paper titled “What do a ramp and a computer have in common?An experimental test on matters of care for matter“. Here, you can read our presentation.



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Quinientas cincuenta mil leguas de cable submarino

Para comprender otro aspecto de la materialidad de las comunicaciones electronicas….

Quinientas cincuenta mil leguas de cable submarino

Con tanto hablar del wireless se nos olvida que todo pende de 200 hilos que se han convertido de pronto en objetivo terrorista internacional.

Submarine Cable Map 2013

Submarine Cable Map 2013

La información querrá ser libre pero su grado de autonomía es muy limitado. El complejo entramado de telecomunicaciones que llamamos Internet depende de antenas, grandes centros de procesamiento de datos y, sobre todo, dos millones y medio de kilómetros de fibra óptica cuya fragilidad se pudo apreciar en toda su extensión cuando la guardia costera egipcia descubrió a tres buceadores cortando cables cerca de la costa de Alejandría el pasado mes de marzo.

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Blood in the mobile


To purchase the Blood in the Mobile Film, Worldwide

click on the following link

Blood in the Mobile is a documentary by director Frank Piasecki Poulsen.


Phones are financing war in DR Congo

We love our cell phones and the selection between different models has never been bigger. But the production of phones has a dark, bloody side.

The main part of minerals used to produce cell phones are coming from the mines in the Eastern DR Congo. The Western World is buying these so-called conflict minerals and thereby finances a civil war that, according to human rights organisations, has been the bloodiest conflict since World War II: During the last 15 years the conflict has cost the lives of more than 5 million people and 300.000 women have been raped. The war will continue as long as armed groups can finance their warfare by selling minerals.

If you ask the phone companies where their suppliers get minerals from, none of them can guarantee that they aren’t buying conflict minerals from the Congo.

The Documentary Blood in the Mobile shows the connection between our phones and the civil war in the Congo. Director Frank Poulsen travels to DR Congo to see the illegal mine industry with his own eyes. He gets access to Congo’s largest tin-mine, which is being controlled by different armed groups, and where children work for days in narrow mine tunnels to dig out the minerals that end up in our phones.

After visiting the mine Frank Poulsen struggles to get to talk to Nokia, the Worlds largest phone company. Frank Poulsen wants them to guarantee that they are not buying conflict minerals and thereby is financing the war in the Congo. Nokia cannot give him that guarantee.

Blood in Mobile is a film about our responsibility for the conflict in the Congo and about corporate social responsibility.

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