Coal combustion and the disposal of combustion wastes emit enormous quantities of nano-sized particles that pose significant health concerns on exposure, particularly in unindustrialized countries. Samples of fresh and weathered class F fly ash were analysed through various techniques including X-ray fluorescence (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD), focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM), field-emission gun scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM) coupled with energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and Raman Spectroscopy. The imaging techniques showed that the fresh and weathered coal fly ash nanoparticles (CFA-NPs) are mostly spherical shaped. The crystalline phases detected were quartz, mullite, ettringite, calcite, maghemite, hematite, gypsum, magnetite, clay residues, and sulphides. The most abundant crystalline phases were quartz mixed with Al-Fe-Si-K-Ti-O-amorphous phases whereas mullite was detected in several amorphous phases of Al, Fe, Ca, Si, O, K, Mg, Mn, and P. The analyses revealed that CFA-NPs are 5-500 nm in diameter and encapsulate several potentially hazardous elements (PHEs). The carbon species were detected as 5-50 nm carbon nanoballs of graphitic layers and massive fullerenes. Lastly, the aspects of health risks related to exposure to some detected ambient nanoparticles are also discussed.
The chemical reactions of dry-disposed ash dump, ingressed oxygen, carbon dioxide, and infiltrating rainwater affect mineralogical transformation, redistribution, and migration of chemical species. Composite samples of weathered coal fly ash taken at various depths and fresh coal fly ash were examined using organic petrographic, X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence techniques, and successive extraction procedures. Results obtained show relative enrichment of glass, Al-Fe-oxides, calcite, and tridymite in the weathered CFA, but the fresh CFA is enriched in mullite, inertinite, maghemite, and ettringite. The enrichment of the weathered CFA in amorphous glass suggests higher reactivity when compared to fresh CFA. The evident depletion of soluble oxides in the weathered CFA is attributed to flushing of the soluble salts by percolating rainwater. Comparative enrichment of examined elements in water-soluble, exchangeable, reducible, and residual fractions of the weathered CFA is partly due to the slow release of adsorbed chemical species from the alumina-silicate matrix and diffusion from the deeper sections of the particles of coal fly ash. Sodium and potassium show enrichment in the oxidisable fraction of fresh CFA. The estimated mobility factor indicates mobility for Ca, Mg, Na, Se, Mo, and Sb and K, Sr, V, Cu, Cr, Se, and B in fresh and weathered CFAs, respectively.
The rapidly increasing generation of municipal solid waste (MSW) threatens the environmental integrity and well-being of humans at a global level. Incineration is regarded as a technically sound technology for the management of MSW. However, the effective management of the municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) ashes remains a challenge. This article presents the global dynamics of MSWI ashes research from 1994 to 2018 based on a bibliometric analysis of 1810 publications (research articles and conference proceedings) extracted from the Web of Science database, followed by a comprehensive summary on the research developments in the field. The results indicate the rapid growth of annual publications on MSWI ashes research, with China observed as the most productive country within the study period. Waste Management, Journal of Hazardous Materials, Chemosphere and Waste Management & Research, which accounted for 35.42% of documents on MSWI research, are the most prominent journals in the field. The most critical thematic areas on this topic are MSWI ashes characterisation, dioxin emissions from fly ash, valorisation of bottom ash and heavy metal removal. The evolution of MSWI ashes treatment technologies is also discussed, together with the challenges and future research directions. This is the first bibliometric analysis on global MSWI ashes research based on a sufficiently large dataset, which could provide new insights for researchers to initiate further research with leading institutions/authors and ultimately advance this research field.