Heavy metal-rich wastes sequester in mineral phases through a glass-ceramic process

Autores: García-Valles, M.|Ávila, G.|Martínez, S.|Terradas, R.|Nogués, J.M.
Fuente: Chemosphere
en prensa

Certain sludges generated by industry are rich in contaminating elements and are a major environmental problem. In this study, we determine the ability of these contaminating elements to be incorporated into a glass-matrix and in various mineral phases after a crystallization process. The contaminating elements studied were obtained from sewage sludges (SS) and galvanic sludges (GS), our raw materials. The sludge samples were taken from urban wastewater treatment plant in Catalonia (NE Spain) with high levels of phosphorus oxide (P2O5). In silica glasses, P2O5 acts as a network former. We determined the chemical composition of both the SS and GS, as well as their thermal behaviour by differential thermal analysis and thermal gravimetric analysis (DTA?TG) to obtain their melting curves. The vitreous transition temperature of the obtained glass was established by dilatometer technique at 725 °C. The DTA?TG curve of the glass obtained has an exothermal wide peak at 860 °C corresponding to crystallization of the two phases: a spinel phase and a phosphate phase. A second exothermal wide peak at 960 °C was attributed to the crystallization of aluminium pyroxene, anorthite and fluor-apatite, with two exothermal phenomena attributed to the evolution of these phases. An exothermal peak at 1100 °C was attributed to gehlenite crystallization. Scanning electron microscope observations and energy-dispersed X-ray spectroscopy microanalyses of glass?ceramic showed that the contaminating elements were concentrated in the spinel phases, which are the first phases to crystallize during the cooling of glass. Finally, the spinel structure permits the incorporation of all the contaminating elements into it.

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