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Waste Manag. 2013 Sep;33(9):1906-17. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2013.05.015. Epub 2013 Jun 19.

A preliminary investigation into the physical and chemical properties of biomass ashes used as aggregate fillers for bituminous mixtures.

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  • 1Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, 24 corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 10129 Turin, Italy.


Fly and bottom ashes are the main by-products arising from the combustion of solid biomass. Since the production of energy from this source is increasing, the processing and disposal of the resulting ashes has become an environmental and economic issue. Such ashes are of interest as a construction material because they are composed of very fine particles similar to fillers normally employed in bituminous and cementitious mixtures. This research investigates the potential use of ash from biomass as filler in bituminous mixtures. The morphological, physical and chemical characteristics of 21 different ashes and two traditional fillers (calcium carbonate and "recovered" plant filler) were evaluated and discussed. Leaching tests, performed in order to quantify the release of pollutants, revealed that five ashes do not comply with the Italian environmental re-use limits. Experimental results show a wide range of values for almost all the investigated properties and a low correlation with biomass type in terms of origin and chemical composition. Furthermore, sieving and milling processes were found to improve the properties of the raw material in terms of grading and sample porosity. The effectiveness of these treatments and the low content of organic matter and harmful fines suggest that most of the biomass ashes investigated may be regarded as potential replacements for natural filler in bituminous mixtures.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Biomass ash; Bituminous mixtures; Filler; Leachability; Waste management

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