Free Civil Engineering Dissertation Example
Fly Ash Impact on the Environment
Fly ash is a product that is obtained through the burning of coal. It is made up of fine particles that are forced out of the boiler chamber with flue gases. The ash that settles to the base of the heater is known to as the bottom ash. Huang & Lo (2017) posit that recycling of fly ash is becoming a significant concern in the recent days as a result of ever-growing landfilling costs as well as the interest in making sure there is sustainable development. It is utterly essential to note that fly ash is captured by using electrostatic precipitators or through particulate filtration prior to the fly gas makes its way to the chimney. When the fly ash mixes with the bottom ash they are collectively known as the coal ash (Petcherdchoo, 2015). The composition of fly ash has been found to vary significantly because its quality relies on the source and the makeup of the coal that is has been combusted in the boiler. However, in their study Abdel-Shafy & Mansour (2016) posit that fly ash is made up of a high percentage of silicon dioxide, both crystalline and amorphous in nature, aluminum oxide, and calcium oxide.
The use of fly ash comprises its use in concrete production where it is used as a substitute material for sand and the Portland cement. It has also been used in road construction such in the development of dams as well as other structural fills, waste stabilization, solidification of waste material, reclamation of mines, and the strengthening of soft soils. Huang & Lo (2017) discovered that fly ash could also be used for agricultural purposes such as soil modification, fertilizer, soil stabilization, and cattle feeders. Fly ash can be loosely be applied to rivers to help melt the ice, and the same case is used on the roads or even the parking lots to help control the amount of ice in the area. It can be utilized in diverse fields such as the dam, cement production, flowable fill, waste management, and the development of bricks. Fly ash is a pozzolanic substance that acts like cement when in the presence of lime and water. For the regular soils, fly ash may not produce the cementitious material and it cant be used for soils that are getting lime treatment on a regular basis.
Fly ash has an important influence on the surrounding. Petcherdchoo (2015) claim that fly ashes that have a high amount of poisonous substances such as heavy metals must be disposed under expert advice. The idea is supported by Arulrajah & Samingthong (2016) who carried out a study that observed that the interface between the water and fly ash in the fill results in the leaching of heavy metals and other poisonous materials into the groundwater channels. The case is backed up by the high amounts of trace elements such as the heavy metals in water samples picked from areas located close to the ash fill pits. Abdel-Shafy & Mansour (2016) argues that there is a fall in the recharging of groundwater as a result of fly ash filled voids that cannot support the growth of crops and trees. The reason is there will be poor root system development that causes the plants to be approved by low-velocity winds.
Moreover, according to a study done by Petcherdchoo (2015), it has been discovered that fly ash disposal is a leading environmental concern with only 60% of the fly ash being used by the power department. The suggestion implies that a remaining lot of fly ash is delivered into poorly constructed ash voids that are also mismanaged by the involved groups. Abdel-Shafy & Mansour (2016) approximates that over a billion tonnes of fly ash will be produced and dumped into the ponds causing pollution of air, water, and the land. Thus, there is the need for the manufacturing companies to have in place measures that will ensure that the environment is protected, the topsoil is protected, and the maintenance of the ash ponds is done expertly.
The utilization of fly ash has a significant number of advantages in the concrete business such as reducing the amount of carbon emission, minimization in the utilization of natural resources, enhanced productivity of the materials, better workability, and lower levels of shrinkage (Abdel-Shafy & Mansour, 2016). In the past, the environmental organization placed a significant amount of restrictions in the use of fly ash as an alternative for cement, but studies have proved that it has a positive influence on the environment and the cement product. For instance, Petcherdchoo (2015) found out that the use of fly ash can result in higher durability, lower levels of corrosion, as well as low embodied energy. The reason is the fine particles of the ash can fill the gaps between the cement particles resulting in the production of denser concrete that is marked with high permeability specification (Arulrajah & Samingthong, 2016). Thus, the use of fly ash could help the business organization satisfy the needs of the consumers at all times. About lowering the level of carbon dioxide production, the regular cement produces over 82% of carbon for oxide for every one tone of cement used, however, using a significant amount of fly ash may lower the production to less than two percent (Petcherdchoo, 2015).
Further the production of cement places a high strain on natural resources, particularly during the manufacturing and output process. Fly ash as a substitute for cement may lower the natural resources demand that is needed in the process. The leaching of toxic heavy metals into the environment can be minimized by using the fly ash in the concrete products instead of disposing of it in the voids.
All in all fly ash is an essential substance that can help construction engineers attain sustainable concrete. As shown in the discussion, if the ash is incorporated in concrete, it can lower the costs, the level of carbon dioxide emission, as well as conserve the natural resources. The high amount of fly ash concrete soles the issue of low early strength by minimizing the intake of water. The cost of disposing of such waste products is very high as the number of environmental legislation are high, which cuts into the firm’s profit margins. Recycling of waste materials such as fly as saves the cost of production and plays a critical role in the preservation of natural resources. Most constructions engineer believe that the need to have sustainable concrete in the coming days will cause a paradigm shift from faster construction plan by design for low concentration energy, preservation of environmental resources, and enhanced durability of the product. Thus, high-density fly ash concrete will be used as one of the tools for achieving the sustainable concrete.
Abdel-Shafy, H. I., & Mansour, M. S. (2016). A review on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: source, environmental impact, the effect on human health and remediation. Egyptian Journal of Petroleum, 25(1), 107-123.
Arulrajah, A., Mohammadinia, A., Horpibulsuk, S., & Samingthong, W. (2016). Influence of class F fly ash and curing temperature on strength development of fly ash-recycled concrete aggregate blends. Construction and Building Materials, 127, 743-750.
Huang, T. Y., Chiueh, P. T., & Lo, S. L. (2017). Life-cycle environmental and cost impacts of reusing fly ash. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 123, 255-260.
Petcherdchoo, A. (2015). Repairs by fly ash concrete to extend the service life of chloride-exposed concrete structures considering environmental impacts. Construction and Building Materials, 98, 799-809.
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