Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 17, pp 14970–14979 | Cite as

Separation and characterization of magnetic fractions from waste-to-energy bottom ash with an emphasis on the leachability of heavy metals

  • Yunmei WeiEmail author
  • Xiaoxia Mei
  • Dezhi Shi
  • Guotao Liu
  • Li Li
  • Takayuki Shimaoka
Research Article


Magnetic fractions were extracted from pulverized waste-to-energy (WTE) bottom ashes using a combined wet-dry extraction method. The resulting magnetic and non-magnetic fractions were subjected to compositional, mineralogical, and redox state analyses by X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescence, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), respectively. The distribution and leaching toxicity of heavy metals were assessed to evaluate potential effects on the environment. Compositional analyses revealed that Fe accounted for 35% of the magnetic fraction of pulverized ashes, which was approximately seven times that of the raw ash. In addition to Fe, elemental Ni, Mn, and Cr were also significantly enriched in the magnetic fractions. The mineralogical analysis determined that Fe was primarily present as hematite and magnetite, and metallic iron was also identified in the magnetic fraction samples. The XPS analysis further proved the existence of zero-valence Fe. However, a significant amount of Fe remained in the non-magnetic fractions, which could partially be ascribed to the intergrowth structure of the various minerals. The elevated concentrations of toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP)-extracted Mn, Ni, Cr, Cu, Pb, and Zn were primarily ascribed to the lower buffering capability of the magnetic fractions, with the enrichment of Mn, Ni, and Cr in the magnetic fractions also contributing to this elevation.


Waste to energy Bottom ash Iron Magnetic separation Heavy metals 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51308564) and National Science Foundation Project of CQ CSTC (Grant No. CSTC2014jcyjA20015).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yunmei Wei
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiaoxia Mei
    • 1
  • Dezhi Shi
    • 1
  • Guotao Liu
    • 1
  • Li Li
    • 1
  • Takayuki Shimaoka
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Three Gorges Reservoir Region’s Eco-Environment, Ministry of EducationChongqing UniversityChongqingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Graduate School of EngineeringKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan

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