Katherine Portilla

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has worked with partners to develop a printed circuit board (PCB) made up of polymer layers held together by glue. This glue dissolves when the component is immersed in hot water, leaving 90 percent of the original structure to be reused.

PCBs are used in almost all commercially produced electronic devices, including computers, radios, TVs and MP3 players. In essence, a PCB is a thin board that has electrical wires printed onto it, and connects the various components of the device together. The new recoverable technology was developed as a part of the ReUSE (Reusable, Unzippable, Sustainable Electronics) project, which looks to increase the recyclability of electronics.

Martin Wickham, researcher on NPL’s Electronics Interconnection team, says: “The current state of printer circuit board technology is such that the vast majority of PCBs are produced on fibre enforced epoxy glass, which is a thermoset resin that…

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