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July/August 2010

Free Water in Trona

A scanning electron micrograph of single trona crystals magnified 2,500 times.

Trona, or sodium sesquicarbonate, is a fine mineral powder that has proven to be effective at removing acid gases from air emissions. While trona can be a useful component of air pollution control systems, it can be difficult to handle, particularly when moisture is present.

A proposed new ASTM standard will present a repeatable, precise and accurate test method for analyzing moisture levels in trona. Such an analysis is key to diagnosing problems and to preventing incorrect analysis.

The proposed new standard, WK26298, Test Method for Determination of Free Water in Trona, is being developed by Subcommittee E01.02 on Ores, Concentrates and Related Metallurgical Materials, part of ASTM International Committee E01 on Analytical Chemistry for Metals, Ores and Related Materials.

According to James Phillip, operational services manager, Solvay Chemicals Inc., potential users of WK26298 will be producers of trona as well as coal-fired power plants, municipal and medical waste incinerators and operators of air pollution control systems.

“Having a standard method will eliminate conflict between laboratories,” says Phillip. “The method that accurately defines the moisture content must be fast, less than five minutes preferred, and repeatable at nearly any properly equipped lab.”

Phillip also notes that the procedure will need to be able to be conducted with minimal skills to be adaptable to field use.

Interested parties are invited to participate in the ongoing development of WK26298.


Technical Information: James D. Phillip, Solvay Chemicals Inc., Green River, Wyo.

Phone: 307-872-6519

ASTM Staff: Thomas O’Toole

Phone: 610-832-9739