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Mineralogical characterization of municipal solid waste incineration bottom ash with an emphasis on heavy metal-bearing phases

Wei, Yunmei, Shimaoka, Takayuki, Saffarzadeh, Amirhomayoun, Takahashi, Fumitake
Journal of hazardous materials 2011 v.187 no.1-3 pp. 534-543
calcium silicate, carbonation, ceramics, chromium, copper, glass, heavy metals, lead, manganese, melting, mineralization, minerals, municipal solid waste, nickel, recycling, risk, scanning electron microscopy, waste incineration, weathering, zinc, Japan
Municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) bottom ash contains a considerable amount of heavy metals. The occurrence and uneven distribution of these heavy metals in bottom ash can increase the complexity of such residues in terms of long-term behavior upon landfilling or recycling. Bottom ashes sampled from three stoker-type incinerators in Japan were analyzed in this paper. This study presents detailed information on the mineralogical characterization of bottom ash constituents and the weathering behavior of these constituents by means of optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. It was revealed that bottom ash mainly consists of assorted silicate-based glass phases (48–54wt% of ash) and mineral phases including melilites, pseudowollastonite, spinels, and metallic inclusions (Fe–P, Fe–S, Fe–Cu, Cu–Sn, Cu–Zn, Cu–S, and Cu–Pb dominated phases), as melt products formed during the incineration process. The compounds embedded in the glass matrix, e.g. spinels and metallic inclusions, played the most important role in concentration of heavy metals (Pb, Zn, Cu, Cr, Mn, Ni, etc.). Other phases such as refractory minerals and ceramics, frequently found in ash, were of less significance in terms of their influence on the involvement of heavy metals. Analysis of lab-scale artificially weathered and 10-year landfilled bottom ash samples revealed that secondary mineralization/alteration of the bottom ash constituents principally carbonation and glass evolution substantially decreased the potential risk of the heavy metals to the surrounding environment.