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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2018 Apr;25(10):9861-9872. doi: 10.1007/s11356-018-1260-7. Epub 2018 Jan 25.

Hydration of dicalcium silicate and diffusion through neo-formed calcium-silicate-hydrates at weathered surfaces control the long-term leaching behaviour of basic oxygen furnace (BOF) steelmaking slag.

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School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK.
School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK.
School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK.
School of Environmental Sciences, University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull, HU6 7RX, UK.


Alkalinity generation and toxic trace metal (such as vanadium) leaching from basic oxygen furnace (BOF) steel slag particles must be properly understood and managed by pre-conditioning if beneficial reuse of slag is to be maximised. Water leaching under aerated conditions was investigated using fresh BOF slag at three different particle sizes (0.5-1.0, 2-5 and 10 × 10 × 20 mm blocks) and a 6-month pre-weathered block. There were several distinct leaching stages observed over time associated with different phases controlling the solution chemistry: (1) free-lime (CaO) dissolution (days 0-2); (2) dicalcium silicate (Ca2SiO4) dissolution (days 2-14) and (3) Ca-Si-H and CaCO3 formation and subsequent dissolution (days 14-73). Experiments with the smallest size fraction resulted in the highest Ca, Si and V concentrations, highlighting the role of surface area in controlling initial leaching. After ~2 weeks, the solution Ca/Si ratio (0.7-0.9) evolved to equal those found within a Ca-Si-H phase that replaced dicalcium silicate and free-lime phases in a 30- to 150-μm altered surface region. V release was a two-stage process; initially, V was released by dicalcium silicate dissolution, but V also isomorphically substituted for Si into the neo-formed Ca-Si-H in the alteration zone. Therefore, on longer timescales, the release of V to solution was primarily controlled by considerably slower Ca-Si-H dissolution rates, which decreased the rate of V release by an order of magnitude. Overall, the results indicate that the BOF slag leaching mechanism evolves from a situation initially dominated by rapid hydration and dissolution of primary dicalcium silicate/free-lime phases, to a slow diffusion limited process controlled by the solubility of secondary Ca-Si-H and CaCO3 phases that replace and cover more reactive primary slag phases at particle surfaces.


Alkaline waste; Leaching; Particle size; Reuse; Steel slag; Vanadium

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