Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 186–200 | Cite as

Mineralogical comparison of coal fly ash with soil for use in agriculture



Mineralogical comparison of coal fly ash with soil and other material such as montmorillonite, charcoal was done by X-ray diffraction (XRD), thermo gravimetric analysis (TGA), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) with EDS. Fly ash showed high thermal stability with least weight loss as observed in TGA and SEM graph indicated that flyash is composed of spherical structures with more surface area for interaction; XRD and EDS studies showed that amorphous content of ash consists of calcium oxide, potassium and major crystalline phases observed were quartz (SiO2) and aluminum silicon oxide (Al4.52Si1.48) and haematite (Fe2O3). Charcoal, was amorphous in nature consisting of carbon and graphite. Soil and montmorillonite showed similar results in XRD, FTIR and thermal analysis having porous nature with silica as major constituent. Fly ash was found to be alkaline in nature having pH 7.85 and electrical conductivity 0.14 µS/m, good water holding capacity (62 %) and various macro and micronutrients as compared to other material viz. soil, charcoal, montmorillonite and hence, its mineralogical composition ascertains its applicability as a carrier for different microbial inoculants for soil application in agriculture which can act as an economic source of nutrient supplement for crop plants.


Fly ash Soil Charcoal Montmorillonite Thermal stability Agriculture 



The authors are thankful to Director, Thapar University, Patiala and Science & Technology Entrepreneur’s Park (STEP), TU, for providing infrastructural and support and to Fly ash unit (FAU), Department of Science &Technology (DST) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for financial support.


  1. 1.
    Lokeshappa B, Dikshit AK (2011) Metals and their leachings in coal fly ash ponds, National Conference on Environmental Perspectives and Challenges for the 21st Century (EPC-2011), Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, India., June 28–29Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Kumar V, Mathur M, Sinha SS, Dhatrak S (2005) Fly ash environmental saviour. New Delhi, India: Report submitted to Fly ash Utilization Programme (FAUP) to TIFAC, DSTGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Skousen J, Yang JE, Lee JS, Ziemkiewicz P (2013) Review of fly ash as a soil amendment. Geosyst Eng 16:249–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jala S, Goyal D (2006) Fly ash as a soil ameliorant for improving crop production—a review. Bioresour Technol 97:1136–1147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Pichtel JR, Hayes JM (1990) Influence of fly ash on soil microbial activity and populations. J Environ Qual 19:593–597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gaind S, Gaur AC (2002) Impact of fly ash and phosphate solubilising bacteria on soybean productivity. Bioresour Technol 85:313–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Gaind S, Gaur AC (2003) Quality assessment of compost prepared from fly ash and crop residues. Bioresour Technol 87:125–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Singh S, Gond D, Pal A, Tewary B, Sinha A (2011) Performance of several crops grown in fly ash amended soil. In: 2011 World of coal ash (WOCA) conference, May 9–12, 2011, Denver, CO.
  9. 9.
    Querol X, Umana JC, Alastuey A, Bertrana C, Soler AL, Plana F (1999) Physicochemical characterization of spanish fly ashes. Energ Sour Part A 21:883–898CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Adholeya A, Bhatia NP, Kanwar S, Kumar S (1998) Fly ash source and substrate for growth of sustainable agro-forestry system. In: Proceedings of Regional workshop cum symposium on Fly ash disposal and utilization, Organized by Kota thermal power station, RSEB, Kota, Rajasthan, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Basu M, Pande M, Bhadoria PBS, Mahapatra SC (2009) Potential fly-ash utilization in agriculture: a global review. Prog Nat Sci 19:1173–1186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Singh VM (2009) Micro nutritional problem in soils of india and improvement for human and animal health. Indian J Fert 5(4):11–16Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Lee H, Ha HS, Lee CS, Lee YB, Kim PJ (2006) Fly ash effect on improving soil properties and rice productivity in Korean paddy soil. Bioresour Technol 97:1490–1497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Elseewi AA, Straughan IR, Page AL (1980) Sequential cropping of fly ash amended soils: effects on soil chemical properties and yield and elemental composition of plants. Sci Total Environ 15:247–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wong MH, Wong JWC (1989) Germination and seedling growth of vegetables, crops in fly ash amended soils. Agric Ecosyst Environ 26:23–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hata T, Imamura Y, Ishihara S, Nishimiya K (1998) Analysis of chemical structure of wood charcoal by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Jpn Wood Res Soc, 56–61Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Pulido LL, Ishihara S, Kajimoto T, Ide I (1996) Development of environmental protection wood charcoal composites from toxic heavy metal. II. In: Abstracts of 46th Annual Meeting of the Japan Wood Research Society, Kumamoto, April 3–5, p 476Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Nenadovic S, Nenadovic M, Kljajevic L, Pavlovic V (2010) Structure and compositions of soils. Processing and application of Ceramica 4:259–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Paluszkiewicz C, Stodolak E, Hasik M, Blazewicz M (2011) FT-IR study of montmorillonite-chitosan nanocomposite materials. Spectrochim Acta Part A 79:784–788CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Xue W, He H, Zhu J, Yuan P (2007) FTIR investigation of CTAB-Al-montmorillonite complexes. Spectrochim Acta Part A 67:1030–1036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Goyal V, Angar MR, Srivastava DK (2002) Studies on the effect of fly ash treated soil on the increased protein contents in the seeds of Glycine max (soyabean). Asian J Chem 14(1):328–332Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Zielinski RA, Finkelman RB (1997) Radioactive elements in coal and flyash: abundance, forms, and environmental significance. US Geological Survey Fact Sheet FS-163-97.
  23. 23.
    Ram LC, Masto RE (2010) “Review”: an appraisal of the potential use of fly ash for reclaiming coal mine spoil. J Environ Manage 91:603–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Mittra BN, Karmakar S, Swain DK, Ghosh BC (2003) Fly ash—a potential source of soil amendment and a component of integrated plant nutrient supply system. International Ash Utilization Symposium, Centre of Applied Energy Research, University of Kentucky. Paper# 28.
  25. 25.
    Punshon T, Adriano DC, Weber JT (2002) Restoration of drastically eroded land using coal fly ash and poultry biosolid. Sci Tot Environ 296:209–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
  27. 27.
    Kalra N, Joshi HC, Chaudhary A, Chaudhary R, Sharma SK (1997) Impact of fly ash incorporation in soil on germination of crops. Bioresour Technol 61:39–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Singh M, Gill JK, Kumar S, Singh K (2012) Preparation of Y2Ti2O7 pyrochlore using high-energy ball milling and their structural, thermal and conducting properties. Ionics 18:479–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
  30. 30.
    Page AL (1982) Methods of soil analysis part II soil science. Society of America, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Sugita R, Marumo Y (2001) Screening of soil evidences by a combination of simple techniques: validity of particle size distribution. Forensic Sci Int 122:155–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Black CA, Evans DD, White JL, Ensmingher LE, Clarke FE, Dinauer RC (1965) Methods of soil analysis. Part 1-Physical and mineralogical properties including statistics of measurement and sampling, 9 Series Agronomy. American Society of Agronomy Inc, MadisonGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Jackson ML (1967) Soil chemical analysis. Prentice Hall of India Pvt. Ltd., New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Lee SH, Sakai E, Daimon M, Bang WK (1999) Characterization of fly ash directly collected from electrostatic precipitator. Cem Concr Res 29:1791–1797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Adriano DC, Weber JT (2001) Influence of fly ash on soil physical properties and turfgrass establishment. J Environ Qual 30:596–601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Shen ZG, Li XD, Wang CC, Chen HM, Chua H (2002) Lead phytoextraction from contaminated soil with high biomass plant species. J Environ Qual 31:1893–1900CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Singh SN, Kulshreshtha K, Ahmad KJ (1997) Impact of fly ash soil amendment on seed germination, seedling growth and metal composition of Vicia faba L. Ecol Engg 9:203–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Nishimiya K, Hata T, Imamura Y, Ishihara S (1998) Analysis of chemical structure of wood charcoal by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. J Wood Sci 44:56–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Pereira BLC, Carneiro ACO, Carvalho AMML, Colodette JL, Oliveira AC, Fontes MPF (2013) Influence of chemical composition of Eucalyptus Wood on gravimetric yield and charcoal properties. Bioresourc 8(3):4574–4592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Seshadri P, Sisk D, Bowman F, Benson S, Seames W (2011) Leachability of arsenic and selenium in submicron coal fly ash. In: 2011 World of coal ash (WOCA) conference, May 9–12, 2011, Denver, CO. Retrieved 15 Aug 2013Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Zhao J, Yang L, Li F, Yu R, Jin C (2009) Structural evolution in the graphitization process of activated carbon by high-pressure sintering. Carbon 47:744–751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Sushil S, Batra VS (2006) Analysis of fly ash heavy metal content and disposal in three thermal power plants in India. Fuel 85:2676–2679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Kuceba M, Nowak W (2004) Thermal analysis of fly ash-based zeolites. J Therm Anal Calorim 77:125–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Cohen OL, Weiner L, Boaretto E, Mintz G, Weine S (2006) Modern and fossil charcoal: aspects of structure and diagenesis. J Archaeol Sci 33(3):428–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
  46. 46.
    Cox RJ, Peterson HL, Young BS, Cusik CBS, Espinoza EO (2000) The forensic analysis of soil organic by FTIR. Forensic Sci Int 108:107–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Skavara F, Kopecky L, Nimeeek J, Bittnar Z (2006) Microstructure of geopolymer materials based on fly ash. Ceram Silik 50(4):208–215Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Murayama NT, Yamamoto H, Shibata J (2003) Reaction, mechanism and application of various zeolite syntheses from coal fly ash. Mater T 44(12):2475–2480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Querol X, Moreno N, Umana JC, Alastuey A, Hernandez E, Soler AL, Plana F (2002) Synthesis of zeolites from coal fly ash: an overview. Int J Coal Geol 50:413–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Choe E, Meer VDF, Rossiter D, Salm C, Kim KW (2010) An alternate method for fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopic determination of soil nitrate using derivative analysis and sample treatments. Water Air Soil Pollut 206:129–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Bishop LJ, Murad E (2004) Characterisation of minerals and biogeochemical markers on mars: a Raman and IR spectroscopic study of montmorillonite. J Raman Spectrosc 35:480–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Paluszkiewicz C, Holtzer M, Bobrowski A (2008) FTIR analysis of bentonite in moulding sands. J Mol Struct 880:109–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Patel HA, Somani RS, Bajaj HC, Jasra RV (2007) Preparation and characterization of phosphonium montmorillonite with enhanced thermal stability. Appl Clay Sci 35:194–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Tyagi B, Chudasama CD, Jasra RV (2006) Determination of structural modification in acid activated montmorillonite clay by FT-IR spectroscopy. Spectrochim Acta Part A 64:273–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Barbara G, Kutchko Kim AG (2006) Fly ash characterization by SEM-EDS. Fuel 85(17):2537–2544Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Yilmaz G (2012) Structural characterization of glass-ceramics made from fly ash containing SiO2-Al2O3-Fe2O3-CaO and analysis by FT-IR-XRD-SEM methods. J Mol Struct 37:37–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Ram L, Masto R (2009) An appraisal of the potential use of fly ash for reclaiming coal mine spoil. J Environ Manage 91:603–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Ram LC, Masto RE, Singh S, Tripathi RC (2011) “Review”, An appraisal of coal fly ash soil amendment technology (FASAT) of central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR). World Acad Sci Eng Technol 52:703–714Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Khan MW, Khan MR (1996) The effect of fly ash on plant growth and yield of tomato. Env Pollut 92(2):105–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Page AL, Elseewi AA, Straughan IR (1979) Physical and chemical properties of fly ash from coal-fired power plants with special reference to environmental impacts. Residue Rev 71:83–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Macht F, Totsche KU, Eusterhues K, Pronk G (2010) Topography and surface properties of clay minerals analyzed by atomic force microscopy. 19th World Congress of Soil Science, Soil Solutions for a Changing World. 1–6 August 2010, Brisbane, Australia, pp 206–209Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Chitale VVD, Sigal R (2000) Halliburton energy services; Conference paper: NMR characterization of the water adsorbed by montmorillonite: impact on the analysis of porosity logs. Society of Petroleum Engineers. SPE/AAPG Western Regional Meeting, 19–22 June 2000, Long Beach, California,  10.2118/62531
  63. 63.
    Sharma KS, Kalra N (2006) Effect of fly ash incorporation on soil properties and productivity of crops: a review. J Sci Ind Res 65:383–390Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyThapar UniversityPatialaIndia

Personalised recommendations