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Changes in metal speciation and mobility during electrokinetic treatment of industrial wastes: implications for remediation and resource recovery

Peppicelli, Claudia ORCID:, Cleall, Peter ORCID:, Sapsford, Devin ORCID: and Harbottle, Michael ORCID: 2018. Changes in metal speciation and mobility during electrokinetic treatment of industrial wastes: implications for remediation and resource recovery. Science of the Total Environment 624 , pp. 1488-1503. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.12.132

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Industrial waste deposits contain substantial quantities of valuable metals and other resources, although often in a recalcitrant form that hinders their recovery. This paper reports an experimental programme on the application of electrokinetic (EK) processing to two different waste materials (a mine tailings deposit and a metallurgical furnace dust), with the aim of exploring the effect of EK on metal speciation and extractability, with a focus on Pb and Zn due to their prevalence in these materials. The speciation of metals within the waste was determined based on a selective sequential extraction (SSE) procedure which was applied to the materials before, during and after the application of the EK treatment. The results demonstrate the generation of an acidic front in the mine tailings, which enhanced the transport of ions associated with the more labile fractions, a behaviour typical of materials characterized by a lower buffering capacity. The application of the EK in the furnace dust showed much less effect due to a very high starting pH (10) with the higher buffering capacity posing an obstacle to transport. It is shown that EK has altered the geochemical speciation of the metals in both materials, typically redistributing them from less available SSE fractions to the more labile fractions. Zn was redistributed with the SSE fractions and mobilised to a greater extent than Pb in both samples. The changes in pH and redox potential arising as a result of the application of an electric field are likely to be the main causes of the changes in speciation of both Zn and Pb. The considerable changes in metal fractionation, including removal from more recalcitrant fractions, suggest that EK may facilitate metal recovery processes. This, combined with its applicability to fine grained materials and heterogeneous environments, demonstrates that the technique may be particularly suited to both remediation of, and in-situ resource recovery from, such materials.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0048-9697
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 December 2017
Date of Acceptance: 12 December 2017
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2023 00:24

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