Volume 8, Issue 7 (July 2011)
Characteristics of a Coal Fly Ash Subjected to Additional Processing
This paper presents the results of a study of the physical and environmental properties of pre- and post-processed fly ashes (termed Raw and Processed fly ashes, respectively). The ashes were collected from a coal-fired power plant in the northeastern U.S. which utilizes a carbon burn-out unit (CBO) to prepare the fly ash for concrete and other construction applications. Measured physical properties included carbon contents via loss-on-ignition (LOI), specific gravities, gradation analyses, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). In addition, total and leachable concentrations of lead, selenium, and arsenic were determined. Leachable concentrations were determined for leaching solution pHs varying between 1.5 and 11.5. When compared to Processed fly ash, Raw fly ashes had an expectedly higher LOI (approximately 2% versus 6% carbon content, respectively) and lower specific gravity (2.37 versus 2.18, respectively). Although the total metal content of the fly ashes was similar, leachable metal concentrations were notably higher for the Processed fly ash over the full range of leaching solution pHs evaluated. The test results indicate that the CBO process, at times necessary to create usable fly ash, can result in fly ashes with notably altered physiochemical properties that lead to higher leachable contaminant concentrations.