Skip to main content

Swelling related to ettringite crystal formation in chromite ore processing residue

Abstract

Several million tons of Chromite Ore Processing Residue (COPR) were deposited at two sites in New Jersey and Maryland, USA, and over time they exhibited extensive heaving phenomena. Ettringite, a needle-shaped mineral and an expansive mineral commonly recognized in the literature concerning cement- and soil, has been identified extensively in numerous COPR samples collected from these sites. It was therefore believed that ettringite formation and its crystal growth are strongly associated with COPR heaving. We investigated the correlation between ettringite and the heaving phenomena in COPR materials that contained no initial ettringite. Two identical COPR samples were exposed to a 4% w/w sulfate solution (25°C, 50°C) in a confined swell test apparatus. Both swell test samples were analyzed by means of X-ray powder diffraction. The peak intensities of newly formed ettringite were more pronounced in the sample tested at 50°C, and swell development was only observed in this sample. Scanning electron microscopy analyses revealed well-crystallized ettringite needles exceeding 40 μm in length for this sample, while ettringite crystals less than 15 μm in length formed in the sample tested at 25°C. Therefore, the results suggest that the quantity of ettringite and the extent of crystallization play a key role in the heave of COPR.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  • Burke, T., Fagliano, J., Goldoft, M., Hazen, R. E., Iglewicz, R., & Mckee, T. (1991). Chromite ore processing residue in Hudson County, New Jersey. Environ Health Perspect, 92, 131–137.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Chrysochoou, M., Dermatas, D., Moon, D. H., French, C., Morris, J. & Kaouris, M. (2006). Investigation of barium treatment of chromite ore processing residue (COPR). Journal of ASTM International, 3(6), doi: 10.1520/JAI13314.

  • Darrie, R. G. (2001). Commercial extraction technology and process waste disposal in the manufacture of chromium chemicals from ore. Environ Geochem Health, 23, 187–193.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Deakin, D., West, L. J., Stewart, D. I., & Yardley, B. W. D. (2001). Leaching behavior of a chromium smelter waste heap. Waste Management, 21, 265–270.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Dermatas, D., Chrysochoou, M., Moon, D. H. & Christodoulatos C. (2006). Mineralogical characterization of chromite ore processing residue at Dundalk Marine Terminal area 1800. In B.C. Alleman & M.E. Kelley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 8 th International In Situ and On-Site Bioremediation Symposium, Battelle, Columbus, Ohio, 2005.

  • Farmer, J. G., Graham, M. C., Thomas, R. P., Licona-Manzur, C., Parterson, E., & Campbell, C. D. (1999). Assessment and modeling of the environmental chemistry and potential for remediative treatment of chromium-contaminated land. Environ Geochem Health, 21, 331–337.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Geelhoed, J. S., Meeussen, J. C. L., Hillier, S., Lumsdon, D. G., Thomas, R. P. (2002). Identification and geochemical modeling of processes controlling leaching of Cr(VI) and other major elements from chromite ore processing residue. Geochimica Cosomchimica Acta, 66, 3927–3942.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Geelhoed, J. S., Meeussen, J. C. L., Roe, M. J., Hillier, S., Thomas, R. P., Farmer, J. G., & Paterson, E. (2003). Chromium remediation or release? Effect of iron(II) sulfate addition on chromium(VI) leaching from columns of chromite ore processing residue. Environmental Science & Technology, 37, 3206–3213.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Ghorab, H. Y., & Kishar, E. A. (1985). Studies on the stability of calcium sulfoaluminate hydrates. Part 1: Effects of temperature on the stability of ettringite in pure water. Cement and Concrete Research, 15, 93–99.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • International Centre for Diffraction Data (1998). Powder Diffraction File, PDF-2 Database Release.

  • James, B. R. (1996). The challenge of remediating chromium-contaminated soil. Environmental Science & Technology, 30, 248A–51A.

    Google Scholar 

  • Materials Data Inc. (2004). Jade Version 7.1. California, USA.

  • McKee, T. (1988). Chromate chemical production industry: waste treatment past and Present. Report to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Trenton, NJ.

  • Moon, D.H., Dermatas, D., Chrysochoou, M., & Gang, S. (2006). An investigation of the heaving mechanism related to chromite ore processing residue. Journal of ASTM International, 3(6), doi: 10.1520/JAI13309.

  • Public Health Service (1953). The chromate-producing industry. In: Health of workers in chromate producing industry-a study. Federal Security Agency, Public Health Service, Publication No. 192.

Download references

Acknowledgment

This study was supported by Honeywell International Inc.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Deok Hyun Moon.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Moon, D.H., Dermatas, D., Wazne, M. et al. Swelling related to ettringite crystal formation in chromite ore processing residue. Environ Geochem Health 29, 289–294 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-007-9097-x

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-007-9097-x

Keywords

  • Confined swell tests
  • COPR
  • Ettringite
  • SEM
  • Temperature
  • XRPD