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Using inorganic polymer to reduce leach rates of metals from brown coal fly ash
journal contributionposted on 2004-02-01, 00:00 authored by Piotr Bankowski, L Zou, R Hodges
The burning of brown coal for electricity generation produces thousands of tonnes of fly ash each year. Treatment of the fly ash can reduce leach rates of metals and allow it to be disposed in less prescribed landfill. A geopolymer matrix was investigated as a potential stabilisation method for fly ash obtained from electrostatic precipitators and ash disposal ponds. The ratio of fly ash and geopolymer was varied to determine the effects of different compositions on leaching rates. The major element leachate concentrations obtained from pond ash were lower than that of precipitator fly ash. Conversely, precipitator ash-geopolymers were better for trace heavy metal stabilisation. Effective reduction of elemental concentrations in the leachate has been achieved, particularly for calcium, arsenic, selenium, strontium and barium. Scanning electron microscopy revealed the distribution of metals originated from fly ash and from added geopolymer material. It also showed that some elements are leached from ash particles to the geopolymer phase and others remained as undissolved particles. Qualitative analysis showed that fly ash particles interacted with the geopolymers phase through surface reactions.