Life cycle assessment in electronics

Supurmaniam, Adrian (2004) Life cycle assessment in electronics. [USQ Project]


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Our planets resources are being consumed at an extremely unsustainable rate.
Renewable resources are being used up before they can replenish themselves, and
non-renewable resources are depleting fast. In our current situation, it is not enough to
merely recycle materials. Usually, by the time a product is manufactured, the damage
is already done by overuse of materials, the use of non-sustainable materials and
processes, and also by materials and processes that pollute the environment.
Life cycle assessment is the 'cradle to grave' analysis of a product, in order to identify
the sources of excessive material consumption, and also manufacturing processes that
cause pollution. Through the results of an LCA analysis, it is then possible to make
decisions and improvements to current designs and processes. In the field of
electronics, for example, the manufacture of Printed Circuit Boards can cause water
and air pollution if not done properly. However, through Life Cycle equivalent
studies, standards have now been developed for the proper and sustainable
development of printed circuit boards. The same applies to many other electronic
components and devices.
In this research project, all preceding work and studies on the subject matter has been
covered. The current methodology for an LCA study has been covered from an
International Standards Organization requirement standpoint. Finally, a suitable
electronic product, a Calculator has been chosen for this study due to its similarity in
terms of main components (Plastic outer casing, printed circuit board, smaller
electronic components, rubber keypad, glass screen, and a battery).
From this, the methodology was implemented in the chosen LCA software (SimaPro
v5.1), and Impact assessments were performed on the Calculator based on selected
Impact assessment methodologies, then thorough sensitivity analysis was performed
in order to check the validity and to justify all choices for data (materials and
processes as well as disposal procedures). Finally, Improvement assessments have
been made, for ease of comparison with other similar products. Any ideas for future
work that have occurred during this project have been presented in the final chapter.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:12
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:30
Uncontrolled Keywords: life cycle assessment (LCA), printed circuit boards, SimaPro v5.1, calculator
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering > 090603 Industrial Electronics
09 Engineering > 0907 Environmental Engineering > 090703 Environmental Technologies
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4009 Electronics, sensors and digital hardware > 400907 Industrial electronics
40 ENGINEERING > 4011 Environmental engineering > 401102 Environmentally sustainable engineering

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