Physical and chemical changes in coal fly ash during acidic or neutral wastes treatment, and its' effect on the fixation process

Roy Nir Lieberman, Xavier Querol, Natalia Moreno, Yitzhak Mastai, Haim Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Coal fly ash (FA) is an abundant commodity in many countries using steam coal for power production. In some countries (e.g. Israel) all the FA is utilized whereas in some countries only low percentage is used (e.g. USA). The main mode of utilization is in the civil engineering industries as cement or clinker additive or for concrete production. In Israel (2014) 1.3 Mt of highly basic type F FA has been produced, mostly from South African and Colombian coals, in the utilities. A potential application for type F FA could be as an efficient scrubber for hazardous acidic wastes (e.g. the phosphate industry). The scrubbing efficiency of FA stems from interactions of the aluminosilicate surface of the particles with trace elements or with fine precipitates of ionic solids (e.g. SrCO3). The process changes the chemical and physical nature of the FA surface. These changes have been studied using SEM, TEM, XRD and particle size measurements of non-treated, compared to treated FA with acidic or neutral aqueous solutions. The results indicate that an appreciable part of the outer lime layer and part of the glassy aluminosilicate material is dissolved, revealing the mullite skeleton as well as Ti, and Fe species. Moreover, formation of mixed ettringite/thaumasite and halite particles is observed. Thus, this study can lead to a better understanding of the fixation mechanisms of the trace elements by coal FA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-80
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Preservation , the Israeli Coal Ash Authority and the Generalitat de Catalunya (AGAUR 2015 SGR33). We would like to thank the team of Analytical Ctr. in the IDAEA/CSIC institute in Barcelona for the ICP-MS, ICP-OES, and XRD analysis. Also the Department Chemical Sciences of Ariel University and the IDAEA&CSIC institutes are acknowledged for providing the laboratory space for the studies carried out.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd


  • Fixation mechanisms
  • Fly ash
  • Surface changes
  • Trace elements


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