The disposal of fly ash from coal burning power plants is rapidly becoming an environmentally complex problem. Recently though, the attitude towards fly ash use has been changing from a disposal oriented point of view to a more rational position which considers fly ash as a resource to be recycled. One major hinderance of fly ash use has been the extreme variability of composition that exists between fly ashes produced at different power plants. This variability makes the analysis of fly ash very important.
The most common methods currently used for fly ash analysis are atomic absorption or wet chemistry methods defined in ASTM C311. Both methods tend to be expensive, time consuming, and sample preparation is both tedious and critical for some elements. In this study X-ray fluorescence (QXRF) is used for the quantitative analysis of the major and minor elements found in “typical” fly ashes. The method, which is computer controlled, is quick, reliable, and requires minimal sample preparation.