(Received 8 August 2014; accepted 16 February 2015)
Published Online: 2015
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The conventional method for alkali activation of fly ash utilizes Ca(OH)2 and NaOH for the formation of pozzolanic material and fly ash zeolites, respectively. Sodium-based fly ash zeolites (say, Na-zeolite) mostly employ NaOH (the high-grade mineralizer and alkali) for activation of fly ash before its application as an absorbent. However, the Na-zeolites as absorbents (in agro- and aqua-culture) result in sodicity (i.e., excess of Na, present as impurity in the zeolite), which in turn reduces their holding capacity of moisture, nutrient [i.e., nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (NPK fertilizers)], microorganisms (viz., microbial spores), or heavy metals and negatively affect the growth of plant and aquatic life. To resolve such problems, the present study is focused on synthesis of agro-grade blend (dominated by Ca-zeolite) of zeolites by using Ca(OH)2 as major alkali and two well-established mineralizers, NaOH and NaCl, used in the trace quantity. To monitor activation of the fly ash in two different conditions, the synthesis of zeolites could be carried out by employing (1) conventional (the open hydrothermal system), and (2) autoclaving (the closed hydrothermal system) methods. The main attributes that control the entire study include temperature and reaction times for both methods. In addition, the present study demonstrates (1) effectiveness of Ca(OH)2 in creation of blend of zeolites with considerable cation exchange capacity when an optimum chemical composition (comparable to a pure agro- and aqua-grade zeolite 4A), and (2) suitability of the conventional hydrothermal method over autoclave method in synthesizing the blend of Ca- and Na-zeolites possessing a cation exchange capacity up to 394 meq/100 g. The formation of needle/star/spherule/small cube-shaped crystals (i.e., Na-P1, the Na-zeolite) and prismatic/cuboidal shaped crystals (i.e., heulandite, the Ca-zeolite), confirms suitability of the end product as a good sorbent and manure.
Research Scholar, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai,
Head, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Dr. B. B. A. Government Polytechnic,
Asst. General Manager, Powerdeal Energy Systems Pvt. Ltd., Nashik, Maharashtra
Singh, D. N.
Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai,
Stock #: MPC20140053