Photovoltaic's silica-rich waste sludge as supplementary cementitious materials (SCM)

G. Quercia Bianchi, J.J.G. van der Putten, G. Husken, H.J.H. Brouwers

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16 Citations (Scopus)
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Waste sludge, a solid recovered from wastewater of photovoltaic-industries, composes of agglomerates of nano-particles like SiO2 and CaCO3. This sludge deflocculates in aqueous solutions into nano-particles smaller than 1 µm. Thus, this sludge constitutes a potentially hazardous waste when it is improperly disposed. Due to its high content of amorphous SiO2, this sludge has a potential use as supplementary cementitious material (SCM) in concrete. In this study the main properties of three different samples of photovoltaic silica-rich waste sludge (nSS) were physically and chemically characterized. The characterization techniques included: scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), nitrogen physical adsorption isotherm (BET method), density by Helium pycnometry, particle size distribution determined by laser light scattering (LLS) and zeta-potential measurements by dynamic light scattering (DLS). In addition, a dispersability study was performed to design stable slurries to be used as liquid additives for the concrete production on site. The effects on the hydration kinetics of cement pastes by the incorporation of nSS in the designed slurries were determined using an isothermal calorimeter. A compressive strength test of standard mortars with 7% of cement replacement was performed to determine the puzzolanic activity of the waste nano-silica sludge. Finally, the hardened system was fully characterized to determinate the phase composition. The results demonstrate the nSS can be utilized as SCM to replace portion of cement in mortars, thereby decreasing the CO2 footprint and the environmental impact of concrete.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-179
Number of pages19
JournalCement and Concrete Research
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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