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Dissolvable silicon circuit boards, chips could dramatically reduce e-waste

By Shawn Knight · 9 replies
Oct 10, 2014
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  1. Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed silicon circuit boards, chips and sensors that can be completely dissolved in water. James Bond self-destructing gadgetry aside, the breakthrough could significantly reduce e-waste and find practical uses in the medical field.

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  2. yRaz

    yRaz TS Evangelist Posts: 2,146   +1,223

    What they don't tell you is that all the waste is generated before the board is made instead of after during the disposal process.
  3. So much for water cooling!
  4. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    Yeah but disposing is also a huge environmental impact.
  5. yRaz

    yRaz TS Evangelist Posts: 2,146   +1,223

    It's the same waste, it's just removed from the materials before they are assembled into circuit boards so when it ends up in a landfill it's not classified as coming from thrown out circuit boards. One industry finds a way to reduce waste while another suddenly has more.

    Think of this example. Coal tar has many uses, including food coloring. Coal tar is a waste product but is useful for other things so we don't just dump it somewhere, however it still ends up in the environment and landfills anyway. If people suddenly stopped using coal tar "because it was bad for the environment" coke plants wouldn't suddenly stop producing coal tar. They'd have to do something with the coal tar. If no one uses it for anything it will end up in the same places as the replacement products anyway.

    Lots of the products used in the manufacture of electronics either are toxic or have to be separated from toxic material. However, many of these toxic wastes can be recycled in various industries. Separating the recycled waste from the electronics does not stop the production of waste, it just passes on the responsibility to someone else.
    Misagt likes this.
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,169   +3,261

    Going green has to start somewhere. If you never step foot on the ladder, you will never get to the top.
  7. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,769   +598

    "Instead of having to physically remove the devices once they’re no longer needed, they could simply be dissolved and absorbed by the body." This is with the assumption that the circuit boards are made of something non toxic of course. If not the device would be poisonous and probably do more harm then good. On another note we all love our Petroleum by products, just keep them in our food.
  8. yRaz

    yRaz TS Evangelist Posts: 2,146   +1,223

    we should make a coal tar fan club!
  9. E-waste ha.... Let us pollute water... coz that makes sense
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,514   +2,308

    Dissolving circuit boards, you say? Oh shoot, now I'm really going to be careful about not spilling coffee on my keyboards.

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