Recycling Spent Primary Cells for the Synthesis of Spinel ZnMn2O4 using Waste Polypropylene as Reductant in a Microwave Oven


  • James Ransford Dankwah University of Mines and Technology
  • Ben Okyere Sakyiama UMaT
  • Maxwell Acquah UMaT
  • Frank Adjei-Kyeremeh UMaT
  • Pramod Koshy School of Materials Science and Engineering, Senior Research Associate


Spinel ZnMn2O4, Primary cells, Zinc-carbon battery, Polypropylene, Reductant, Microwave oven


This work investigates the recycling of spent primary cells for the synthesis of spinel zinc manganese oxide (ZnMn2O4) using waste polypropylene as reductant in a domestic microwave oven. Spent zinc-carbon batteries (TigerHead brand) were cut into two approximately equal parts and the MnO2/Mn2O3/ZnO/carbon black mixture was carefully removed. The residual casing was dismantled and scrap iron, plastic and paper separated. The removed mixture was soaked in water for 24 hours after which it was filtered and the residue air-dried for 24 hours and pulverised in a mortar using a pestle. The pulverised mass was thoroughly mixed with pulverised polypropylene obtained from a mixture of waste bucket and the cap of the zinc-carbon battery. The mixture was then placed in a fireclay crucible and irradiated in a domestic microwave oven (Pioneer, Model PM-25 L, 2450 MHz, 1000 W) for 20 minutes and reaction products were separated and characterized. Spherical particles of spinel zinc manganese oxide (ZnMn2O4) were isolated after crushing the reduced mass. Analysis of the residual reduced mass showed that it consisted of several peaks of ZnMn2O4 along with peaks of SiO2 and uncombined ZnO and Mn3O4

Author Biographies

James Ransford Dankwah, University of Mines and Technology

Senior Lecturer and Head, Minerals Engineering Department

Ben Okyere Sakyiama, UMaT

Minerals Engineering Department, Undergraduate Student


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