Printer ink can cost as much as vintage champagne, so finding an inexpensive and eco-effective way to make it would be great. Now three inventors from Derbyshire, UK, think they have just the solution: extract the carbon from unwanted tires to generate a cheap and plentiful supply.The black carbon powder used in regular ink is refined from pure oil and the liquid used in cartridges is boiled down from a volume six times larger. On the other hand, millions of tires are dumped every year. Baking a tire at 800°C should break it into a mucky mix of fused silica, steel wire, sulphur, and lumps of precious carbon char, the inventors say. Shaking the mixture through a magnetic sieve ought to get rid of lumps and metal, and then re-baking the smaller particles should produce semi-pure carbon powder.
Flushing this through with hydrochloric acid will suck out any remaining metal and sulphur, and caustic alkali should remove any silicon bits, to produce usable carbon power.
As an added bonus, the inventors claim the entire process will release far less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the traditional refinement process. Read the ink-from-tyres patent here (PDF format).
Via: MetaEfficient and New Scientist