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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2020, Vol. 14 Issue (4) : 62
A novel approach to preparing ultra-lightweight ceramsite with a large amount of fly ash
Sen Liu1,2, Congren Yang1,2, Wei Liu1,2(), Longsheng Yi1,2(), Wenqing Qin1,2
1. School of Minerals Processing and Bioengineering, Central South University, Changsha 410083, China
2. Key Laboratory of Hunan Province for Clean and Efficient Utilization of Strategic Calcium-containing Mineral Resources, Central South University, Changsha 410083, China
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•Ultra-lightweight ceramsite is prepared with 80% fly ash.

•SiO2, Al2O3, and flux contents significantly influence the performance of ceramsite.

•The expansion of ceramsite is caused by the formation of a dense glaze and gas.

•The bulk density of ultra-lightweight ceramsite is only 340 kg/m3.

The disposal of fly ash has become a serious problem in China due to its rapid increase in volume in recent years. The most common method of fly ash disposal is solidification-stabilization-landfill, and the most common reuse is low-value-added building materials. A novel processing method for preparing ultra-lightweight ceramsite with fly ash was developed. The results show that the optimal parameters for preparation of ultra-lightweight ceramsite are as follows: mass ratio of fly ash:kaolin:diatomite= 80:15:5, preheating temperature of 800°C, preheating time of 5 min, sintering temperature of 1220°C, and sintering time of 10 min. The expansion agent is perlite, at 10 wt.% addition. Finally, a ceramsite with bulk density of 340 kg/m3, particle density of 0.68 g/cm3, and cylinder compressive strength of 1.02 MPa was obtained. Because of its low density and high porosity, ultra-lightweight ceramsite has excellent thermal insulation performance, and its strength is generally low, so it is usually used in the production of thermal insulation concrete and its products. The formation of a liquid-phase component on the surface, and generation of a gas phase inside ceramsite during the sintering process, make it possible to control the production of the suitable liquid phase and gas in this system, resulting in an optimization of the expansion behavior and microstructure of ceramsite. These characteristics show the feasibility of industrial applications of fly ash for the production of ultra-lightweight ceramsite, which could not only produce economic benefits, but also conserve land resources and protect the environment.

Keywords Fly ash      Ultra-lightweight ceramsite      Expansion mechanism      Sintering process     
Corresponding Author(s): Wei Liu,Longsheng Yi   
Issue Date: 01 April 2020
 Cite this article:   
Sen Liu,Congren Yang,Wei Liu, et al. A novel approach to preparing ultra-lightweight ceramsite with a large amount of fly ash[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2020, 14(4): 62.
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Sen Liu
Congren Yang
Wei Liu
Longsheng Yi
Wenqing Qin
Fig.1  Physical properties of fly ash (a) XRD pattern, (b) Particle size distribution curve, and (c) SEM image.
Fig.2  The morphologies of ceramsite change with the preheating temperature and time (a) 400°C and 30 min, (b) 500°C and 30 min, (c) 600°C and 30 min, (d) 700°C and 15 min, (e) 700°C and 30 min, (f) 800°C and 5 min (fly ash:kaolin= 80:20, sintering temperature and time= 1200°C and 8 min).
Fig.3  The particle density compressive strength and water absorption with different sintering temperature (fly ash:kaolin= 80:20, preheating temperature and time= 800°C and 5 min, sintering time= 8 min).
Fig.4  Variation of sintering and melting temperature under different components (preheating temperature and time= 800°C and 5 min, sintering time= 10 min).
Fig.5  Particle density, compressive strength and water absorption of the ceramsite under different proportions of fly ash, kaolin, and diatomite (preheating temperature and time= 800°C and 5 min, sintering time= 10 min).
Fig.6  Comparison of ceramsite with different expansion agents (a) compressive strength (b) particle density (fly ash:kaolin:diatomite= 80: 15: 5, preheating temperature and time= 800°C and 5 min, sintering temperature and time= 1220°C and 10 min).
Fig.7  XRD diagram of ceramsite at different sintering temperatures(a) and the Gibbs free energy change of reactions under different temperature(b).
Fig.8  SEM micrographs of fracture surfaces under different sintering temperature (a) 1100°C, (b) 1220°C, (c) 1220°C with 10% CaCO3, (d) 1220°C with 10% zeolite, (e) 1220°C with 10% perlite (fly ash:kaolin:diatomite= 80:15:5, preheating temperature and time= 800°C and 5 min, sintering time= 10 min).
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