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An analytical electron microscopy investigation of municipal solid waste incineration bottom ash

  • James E. Krzanowski (a1), T. Taylor Eighmy (a2), Bradley S. Crannell (a2) and J. Dykstra Eusden (a3)


Incinerator bottom ash samples have been characterized using analytical electron microscopy (AEM) techniques, including electron diffraction, energy dispersive spectroscopy, and electron energy loss spectroscopy. The samples were first separated by magnetic properties and density. Three resulting fractions were examined: the magnetic, high-density (MHD) fraction, the nonmagnetic/high-density (NMHD) fraction, and the nonmagnetic, low-density (NMLD) fraction. Examination of these samples revealed a variety of submicron microstructural features. For the MHD fraction, metal oxides, iron silicates, aluminum silicates, and calcium phosphate compounds were found in addition to amorphous material. The NMHD fraction contained elements similar to the MHD fraction but had more amorphous material; crystalline silicates were less common. Compounds such as MgO and chloroapatite were also found. The NMLD fraction contained SiO2 and numerous metal oxides. The results of some of these analyses were used to model leaching behavior of the ash. Based on the AEM results, three mineral phases were chosen as candidates for aqueous geochemical thermodynamic equilibrium modeling of pH-dependent leaching: chromite, chloroapatite, and zincite. In two of these three cases (chromite, chloroapatite), the selected mineral phase provided excellent agreement with the experimentally observed leaching behavior. AEM was shown to be a useful tool for elucidating mineralogy of complex environmental samples.



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