Serial batch leaching procedure for characterization of coal fly ash.
Journal - Environmental monitoring and assessment
Although many leaching methods have been used for various purposes by research groups, industries, and regulators, there is still a need for a simple but comprehensive approach to leaching coal utilization by-products and other granular materials in order to estimate potential release of heavy metals when these materials are exposed to natural fluids. A serial batch characterization method has been developed at the National Energy Technology Laboratory that can be completed in 2-3 days to serve as a screening tool. The procedure provides an estimate of cumulative metals release under varying pH conditions, and leaching the sample at increasing liquid/solid ratios can indicate the rate at which this process will occur. This method was applied to eight fly ashes, adapted to the acidic or alkaline nature of the ash. The leachates were analyzed for 30 elements. The test was run in quadruplicate, and the relative standard deviation (RSD) was used as a measure of method reproducibility. RSD values are between 0.02 and 0.70, with the majority of the RSD values less than 0.3. The serial batch leaching procedure was developed as a simple, relatively quick, yet comprehensive method of estimating the risk of heavy metal release from fly ash when it is exposed to natural fluids, such as acid rain or groundwater. Tests on a random selection of coal fly ashes have shown it to be a reasonably precise method for estimating the availability and long-term release of cations from fly ash.