Volatility of heavy metals during incineration of tannery sludge in the presence of chlorides and phosphoric acid

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Courtesy of SAGE Publications

Knowledge of the behaviour of heavy metals in the combustion process is a most important factor in selecting disposal alternatives for waste materials. Accordingly, in this work, the vaporization behaviour of highly concentrated heavy metals (Pb, Zn, Cu and Cr) in tannery sludge were investigated experimentally. The sludge was spiked with various chlorine compounds (i.e. PVC, FeCl3, CaCl2 and NaCl) and pre-treated with phosphoric acid in order to evaluate the capacity of enhancement and weakening of the volatility of the heavy metals contained in tannery sludge. The experimental results show that the vaporization percentages increased with increasing ratio of Cl/sludge and temperature, and the accelerating and increasing effect of the addition of chlorides on the vaporization percentage of heavy metals was dependent on the release capacity of chlorine radicals. The vaporization percentages of lead and zinc increased by 15—20%, whereas those of copper and chromium increased by only about 3 and 10% at 800 °C. However, heavy metals were not expected to be completely released in the combustion process in spite of the high ratio of Cl/sludge. Alternately, heavy metals contained in tannery sludge can be immobilized effectively by pre-treatment with phosphoric acid. When the 85% phosphoric acid accounted for 10% of dry basis of tannery sludge, the phosphate-treated sludge showed the lowest vaporization percentage of about 3—15% with formation of Ca18Cu3(PO4)14, Ca9Cr(PO 4)7, Ca19Zn2(PO4) 14 and PbMgP2O7 in the bottom ash.

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