Kinetics of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) reactions with H2SO4, HNO3 and HCl: Implication for hydrometallurgy of electronic wastes

Yin Zhong, Dan Li, Zhe Mao, Weilin Huang, Ping'an Peng, Pei Chen, Jun Mei

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13 Scopus citations


Hydrometallurgy is an acid leaching based process widely used for recovering precious metals from electronic wastes (e-wastes). The effects of acid leaching on the fate of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in typical hydrometallurgical processes remain largely unknown. This study was aimed at evaluating the fate of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), a commonly used BFR, in three acid leaching reagents (i.e. H2SO4, HNO3, and HCl) commonly used in hydrometallurgy. It was found that the reactions of TBBPA with concentrated H2SO4 followed a pseudo-zero-order rate and the reaction rates declined rapidly as the concentrations of H2SO4 decreased. In contrast, TBBPA could be easily transformed in less concentrated HNO3 solutions (<21.7wt%) and the reactions followed a pseudo-first-order rate. The reaction products identified by GC-MS indicated different transformation pathways of TBBPA in H2SO4 and HNO3. HCl or HCl/H2SO4 mixtures (3:1, v/v) did not appear to react with TBBPA, while aqua regia (3:1 HCl/HNO3, v/v) reacted violently with TBBPA and led to almost complete disappearance of TBBPA within a minute. It suggested that HNO3 significantly affected the fate of TBBPA and the use of HNO3 as leaching reagents in hydrometallurgy of e-wastes should be carefully evaluated. Collectively, our findings of distinct fate of TBBPA in different acid leaching reagents provided fundamental information for design of hydrometallurgical treatment of e-wastes to minimize acid reactions with BFRs within plastics matrix and to maximize acid leaching efficiency for metals recycling processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-201
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Apr 15 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Acid
  • Electronic wastes
  • Recycling
  • Transformation


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