Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 20, pp 20835–20852 | Cite as

Impact of aging on leaching characteristics of recycled concrete aggregate

Research Article


The focus of this study was to evaluate the effects of stockpiling (aging) on leaching of elements in recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) that may contribute to tufaceous constituent formation. Speciation and leaching controlling mechanisms of these elements were identified via geochemical modeling. The effects of stockpiling were simulated by comparing freshly produced RCA with RCA aged as part of this study for 1 year both in the laboratory and in the field. Leachate samples were generated following batch water leach test (WLT) and US Geological Survey leach test (USGSLT) methods. USGSLTs were conducted both on the laboratory and field samples while WLT was only conducted on laboratory samples. During the laboratory aging, it is observed that the carbonate content of RCA, measured as calcite equivalent, increased 20 % (i.e., from ∼100 to 120 mg/g) within a year time frame. The leachate extracted from RCA showed minor changes in pH and more significant decreases in electrical conductivity (i.e., ∼300 to 100 μS/cm). A comparison between laboratory and field samples revealed that the RCA aged much slower in the field than in the laboratory within a year. Comparisons between two leach extraction methods on the laboratory conditions showed that the total leached concentrations (TLCs) of most of the constituents from USGSLT were appreciably lower than the ones measured via WLT method. The results of geochemical modeling analyses showed that Al, Si, Fe, Ca, Mg, and Cu exist in their oxidized forms as Al3+, Fe3+, Si4+, Ca2+, Mg2+, and Cu2+ and results revealed that these elements are primarily controlled by the solubility of gibbsite, hematite, silica gel, calcite, magnesite, and tenorite solid phases, respectively. One of the significant findings of the study was to identify the changes in leaching behavior of Ca, Si, Mg, Al, Fe, and Cu due to carbonation.


Recycled concrete aggregate Aging Carbonation Batch tests Mineral solubility Speciation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure EngineeringGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental EngineeringIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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