Hardening Slurries with Fluidized-Bed Combustion By-Products and Their Potential Significance in Terms of Circular Economy

Zbigniew Kledyński, Paweł Falaciński, Agnieszka Machowska, Łukasz Szarek, Łukasz Krysiak

Hardening slurries (water-bentonite-binder mixtures) constitute a well-established material used broadly, i.a., for cut-off walls in civil and water engineering. Although they usually contain Portland cement, similar to common concrete, their properties differ greatly, mostly due to a much higher water content. This characteristic of hardening slurries creates unique opportunities for the utilization of significant quantities of industrial by-products that are deemed problematic in the concrete industry. This article investigates the effect of the addition of by-products of fluidized-bed combustion of hard, brown coal and municipal sewage sludge, as well as ground granulated blast furnace slag, on the properties of slurries. Unconfined compressive strength tests, as well as mercury porosimetry, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction analyses were performed. The results suggest that it is possible to design hardening slurry mixes of desired properties, both in liquid and solid state, containing at least 100–300 kg/m3 of industrial waste. This includes cement-free slurries based entirely on industrial by-products as binders. In addition, the analyzed slurries exhibited good chemical resistance to landfill eluates, at the same time effectively immobilizing heavy metals. It was concluded that hardening slurry technology can ensure the safe deposition of significant amounts of waste that would be otherwise difficult to manage, thus contributing to the circular economy concept.

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