Main content area

Changes in distribution and microstructure of bauxite residue aggregates following amendments addition

Xue, Shengguo, Ye, Yuzhen, Zhu, Feng, Wang, Qiongli, Jiang, Jun, Hartley, William
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2019 v.78 pp. 276-286
aggregate stability, bauxite, byproducts, fractal dimensions, gypsum, industry, land degradation, micro-computed tomography, microstructure, porosity, refining, scanning electron microscopy, soil formation, surface area, vegetation, vermicomposts
Bauxite residue is a highly alkaline byproduct which is routinely discarded at residue disposal areas. Improving soil formation process to revegetate the special degraded lands is a promising strategy for sustainable management of the refining industry. A laboratory incubation experiment was used to evaluate the effects of gypsum and vermicompost on stable aggregate formation of bauxite residue. Aggregate size distribution was quantified by fractal theory, whilst residue microstructure was determined by scanning electron microscopy and synchrotron-based X-ray micro-computed tomography. Amendments addition increased the content of macro-aggregates (>250 μm) and enhanced aggregate stability of bauxite residue. Following gypsum and vermicompost addition, fractal dimension decreased from 2.84 to 2.77, which indicated a more homogeneous distribution of aggregate particles. Images from scanning electron microscopy and three-dimensional microstructure demonstrated that amendments stimulate the formation of improved structure in residue aggregates. Pore parameters including porosity, pore throat surface area, path length, and path tortuosity increased under amendment additions. Changes in aggregate size distribution and microstructure of bauxite residue indicated that additions of gypsum and vermicompost were beneficial to physical condition of bauxite residue which may enhance the ease of vegetation.