Preventing Chromium Leaching From Waste Slag Exposed to Simulated Acid Precipitation: A Laboratory Study
Description:The Bureau of Mines tested chromium-bearing waste slags from industrial stainless steel and other chrome alloy operations to determine their chromium leachability characteristics under acid precipitation conditions and to devise measures to prevent any pollution originating from this source. Two critical slag composition factors were found to control the chromium leachability: (1) CaO:Si02 ratio and (2) magnesium content. Above a 2.0 CaO:Si02 ratio, chromium exists in slag as CaO·Cr203, which can be vulnerable to leaching by acid precipitation especially if oxi-dized to CaCr04 when exposed to the environment over an extended period. Maximum chromium leachability from industrial slags occurred when the composition of the slag had about a 2.0 CaO:Si02 ratio. Between a 1.0 and 2.0 CaO:Si02 ratio, in the presence of sufficient magnesium, MgO ·Cr203 was formed, which is very resistant to oxidation and to dissolution by simulated acid precipitation. Addition of magnesium silicates to molten slag to fix the chromium in the MgO·Cr203 form was successful in preventing chromium leaching in simulated acid rain solutions. Experiments showed olivine and waste taconite tailings were suitable for this purpose. Olivine addition to a waste slag having a composition vulnerable to leaching (CaO:Si02 > 2) reduced the chromium leachability more than 80 pct.
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