Laboratory scale thermal plasma arc vitrification studies of heavy metal-laden waste

H. H. Zaghloul, L. D. Stephenson, E. D. Smith, R. Cortez, D. G. Cahil, J. W. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plasma processing has been identified as a useful tool for immobilizing heavy metal-contaminated wastes into safe, leach-resistant slag. Although much effort has gone into developing this technology on a pilot scale, not much information has been published on basic research topics. A laboratory- scale plasma are furnace located at the University of Illinois was operated in cooperation with the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories in an effort to establish an understanding of the chemical and physical processes (such as metal volatilization and resultant gas evolution) that occur during thermal plasma treatment of metal-spiked samples. Experiments were conducted on nickel and chromium using a highly instrumented furnace equipped with a 75 kW transferred are plasma torch. The volatility of nickel and chromium was examined as a function of varying oxygen partial pressures. Oxidizing conditions reduced the total dust gathered for both the nickel and chromium samples, although each dust sample was found to be metal- enriched. Plasma treating increased the leach-resistance of the slags by at least one order of magnitude when compared to unprocessed specimens. The leach resistance of the nickel-containing slags increased in the presence of oxygen, whereas chromium samples remained relatively constant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1080
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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