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Synthesizing slow-release fertilizers via mechanochemical processing for potentially recycling the waste ferrous sulfate from titanium dioxide production

Li, Xuewei, Lei, Zhiwu, Qu, Jun, Li, Zhao, Zhou, Xiaowen, Zhang, Qiwu
Journal of environmental management 2017 v.186 pp. 120-126
X-ray diffraction, byproducts, calcium carbonate, citric acid, ferrous sulfate, heavy metals, industrial wastes, industry, ions, iron, mechanochemistry, milling, nutrients, quantitative analysis, recycling, slow-release fertilizers, titanium dioxide, zinc, zinc sulfate
The goal of this study is aimed to develop a novel process to recycle the ferrous sulfate, the by-product of titanium dioxide industry. Zinc sulfate was added in the process of milling ferrous sulfate with calcium carbonate (CaCO3). The sulfates were transformed into carbonates to serve as slow-release fertilizers by co-grinding the starting materials of FeSO4·7H2O, ZnSO4·7H2O, and CaCO3 with small amounts of water in a planetary ball mill. The prepared samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis and quantitative measurements of the soluble ratios in water and 2% citric acid solution. It was found that Fe and Zn ions as sulfates were successfully combined with CaCO3 to form the corresponding Fe and Zn carbonates respectively. After milling, the release ratios of Fe and Zn nutrients in distilled water could be controlled at 0.1% and 0.7% respectively. Meanwhile, the release ratios of them in 2% citric acid solution were almost 98% and 100%. Milling speed was the critical parameter to facilitate the transformation reaction. The proposed process, as an easy and economical route, exhibits evident advantages, namely allowing the use of widely available and low-cost CaCO3 as well as industrial wastes of heavy metal sulfates as starting samples to prepare applicable products.