Role of additives in improved thermal activation of coal fly ash for alumina extraction

Fuel Processing Technology, Volume 110, June 2013, Pages 114-121.

Yanxia Guo, Yaoyao Li, Fangqin Cheng, Miao Wang, Xuming Wang.


State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Efficient Utilization Technology of Coal Waste Resources, Institute of Resources and Environment Engineering,College of Environmental & Resource Sciences, Shanxi University, Taiyuan 030006, China and

Department of Metallurgical Engineering, College of Mines and Earth Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.





The extraction of alumina from coal fly ash is a good direction for its value-added utilization. The presence of the inert matters with high degree of polymerization, such as mullite and other aluminosilicates, makes the reactivity of coal fly ash very poor. The activation of coal fly ash is necessary before its utilization. The thermal activation calcination with the addition of NaOH and Na2CO3 was carried out in this research. The results showed that the addition of NaOH and Na2CO3 improved the alumina extraction evidently. The maximum alumina extraction reached ~ 60% when calcination at 600–900 °C with the addition of NaOH and that could reach 82% at 900 °C with the addition of Na2CO3. Detailed analysis and characterization was carried out by using thermal gravimetric and differential scanning calorimetric analysis (TG-DSC) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The results indicated that NaOH and Na2CO3 facilitated the decomposition of the polymeric phases. At lower temperatures (< 600 °C), NaOH played a main role while Na2CO3 did at higher temperatures (>  700 °C). As a result, the mixed additives containing NaOH and Na2CO3 made alumina extraction attain 95% at 700 °C.


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