A method has been developed which uses ultrasonic cavitation to accelerate batch leaching tests. Batch leaching tests, in which attainment of an equilibrium between the solid sample and liquid leachant is desired, usually involve particle size reduction and mixing to hasten mass transfer of soluble compounds. In the study discussed here, mixing in the form of ultrasonic cavitation was used to supply an intense level of agitation. Breaking the liquid boundary layer surrounding individual waste particles ensured a maximum concentration gradient between the solid and liquid phases and accelerated attainment of steady state concentrations.
Evaluation of the acceleration technique was made through comparison of leachate quality of stabilized/solidified (S/S) residue samples tested using the Wastewater Technology Centre's (WTC) equilibrium extraction (EE) and an ultrasonically agitated version of the same test method (UEE). The sample preparation, liquid-to-solid ratio, extraction fluid, etc., specified in the EE method were held constant for the EE and UEE samples, while the duration and method of agitation was altered for the UEE samples. To date, this evaluation has been made using five metal finishing residues, which were selected based on their elevated concentrations of regulated contaminants. The results of the evaluations are presented and suggestions are made as to the applicability of this accelerated test method.