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The long-term stability of calcium arsenates: Implications for phase transformation and arsenic mobilization

Zhang, Danni, Wang, Shaofeng, Wang, Ying, Gomez, Mario A., Jia, Yongfeng
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2019 v.84 pp. 29-41
Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, ambient temperature, arsenic, calcium, calcium carbonate, calcium oxide, carbon dioxide, liquids, neutralization, pH, phase transition, scanning electron microscopy, sodium hydroxide
It is well known that calcium arsenates may not be a good choice for arsenic removal and immobilization in hydrometallurgical practices. However, they are still produced at some plants in the world due to various reasons. Furthermore, calcium arsenates can also naturally precipitate under some specific environments. However, the transformation process of poorly crystalline calcium arsenates (PCCA) and the stability of these samples under atmospheric CO2 are not yet well understood. This work investigated the transformation process of PCCA produced by using different neutralization reagents (CaO vs. NaOH) with various Ca/As molar ratios at pH 7–12 in the presence of atmospheric CO2. After aging at room temperature for a period of time, for samples neutralized with NaOH and precipitated at pH 10 and 12, release of arsenic back into the liquid phase occurred. In contrast, for the samples precipitated at pH 8, the aqueous concentration of arsenic was observed to decrease. XRD, Raman, and SEM results suggested that the formation of various types of crystalline calcium carbonates and/or calcium arsenates controls the arsenic behavior. Moreover, the application of lime may enhance the stability of the generated PCCA. However, no matter what neutralization reagent is used, the stability of the generated PCCA is still of concern.