Stability of hydrotalcites formed from Bayer refinery environmental control processes

Palmer, Sara Jane (2010) Stability of hydrotalcites formed from Bayer refinery environmental control processes. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Bauxite refinery residues (red mud) are derived from the Bayer process by the digestion of crushed bauxite in concentrated sodium hydroxide at elevated temperatures and pressures. This slurry residue, if untreated, is unsuitable for discharge directly into the environment and is usually stored in tailing dams. The liquid portion has the potential for discharge, but requires pre-treatment before this can occur. The seawater neutralisation treatment facilitates a significant reduction in pH and dissolved metal concentrations, through the precipitation of hydrotalcite-like compounds and some other Mg, Ca, and Al hydroxide and carbonate minerals. The hydrotalcite-like compounds, precipitated during seawater neutralisation, also remove a range of transition metals, oxy-anions and other anionic species through a combination of intercalation and adsorption reactions: smaller anions are intercalated into the hydrotalcite matrix, while larger molecules are adsorbed on the particle surfaces. A phenomenon known as ‘reversion’ can occur if the seawater neutralisation process is not properly controlled. Reversion causes an increase in the pH and dissolved impurity levels of the neutralised effluent, rendering it unsuitable for discharge. It is believed that slow dissolution of components of the red mud residue and compounds formed during the neutralisation process are responsible for reversion.

This investigation looked at characterising natural hydrotalcite (Mg6Al2(OH)16(CO3)∙4H2O) and ‘Bayer’ hydrotalcite (synthesised using the seawater neutralisation process) using a variety of techniques including X-ray diffraction, infrared and Raman spectroscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis. This investigation showed that Bayer hydrotalcite is comprised of a mixture of 3:1 and 4:1 hydrotalcite structures and exhibited similar chemical characteristic to the 4:1 synthetic hydrotalcite. Hydrotalcite formed from the seawater neutralisation of Bauxite refinery residues has been found not to cause reversion. Other components in red mud were investigated to determine the cause of reversion and this investigation found three components that contributed to reversion: 1) tricalcium aluminate, 2) hydrocalumite and 3) calcium hydroxide. Increasing the amount of magnesium in the neutralisation process has been found to be successful in reducing reversion.

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ID Code: 48672
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Frost, Ray & Martens, Wayde
Keywords: arsenate, bauxite refinery residue, bayer liquor, calcium hydroxide, hydrocalumite, hydrotalcite, inductively couple plasma optical emission spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, layered double hydroxides, magnesium chloride, molybdate, Raman spectroscopy, red mud, reversion, seawater neutralised, thermal activation, thermogravimetric analysis, tricalcium aluminate hexahydrate, vanadate, X-ray diffraction
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Physical & Chemical Sciences
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 15 Feb 2012 05:34
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2015 14:01

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