Introducing a new slag to the world of ceramic membranes, Phosphorus Slag

A slag for solving ceramic membrane challenges via alkali activation technology alongside reducing environmental pollution related to slag disposal focusing on SDG 12
Introducing a new slag to the world of ceramic membranes, Phosphorus Slag

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Phosphoric Acid Industry Waste Valorization Through Fabrication of Alkali-Activated Phosphorus Slag-Based Ceramic Membranes: Synthesis and Optimization for Dehydration of Ethanol - Waste and Biomass Valorization

This work proposes a promising alternative to the usual materials and methods of dense ceramic membrane synthesis, focusing on the green exploitation of phosphoric acid industry waste. Alkali-activated ceramic membranes (AACM) were fabricated using two simple steps: alkali-activation, and steam curing. The performance of slag as a cementitious material was studied in membrane fabrication using X-ray fluorescence (XRF), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and laser diffraction (LD). Also, the effect of various proportions of water to slag (W/S), alkalinity to slag (A/S), and hardening time on morphology and phase changes, contact angle, flexural strength, and the pervaporation performance of alkali-activated phosphorus slag (AAPS) membranes were investigated. Further analysis was conducted on the optimal membrane to characterize its topography and thermogravimetric properties. Calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) was identified as the main hydration product of AAPS. The optimal membrane exhibited pervaporation separation index (PSI), flux, and separation factor of 954.52, 3.61 kg/m2.h, and 264.41 in ethanol dehydration through pervaporation, respectively. This result was obtained without zeolite coating. So, the novel and sustainable application presented in this study can reduce the environmental pollution associated with phosphorus slag and highlights the circular economy in ceramic membrane synthesis. Graphical Abstract

In previous research, my focus was studying the feasibility of using ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) to fabricate low-cost & free-sinter ceramic membranes through alkali activation. The studies demonstrated the high potential of alkali-activated blast furnace slag in the field of ceramic membranes, offering it as an alternative material for preparing dense & porous ceramic membranes. However, a crucial realization was that the type of slag should align with the desired advantages for the final application of ceramic membranes. Over the years, I have continued my research on the relationship between slag types and the properties of ceramic membranes fabricated using alkali-activated slags.

Now, I am pleased to share a part of my research titled ''Phosphoric acid industry waste valorization through fabrication of alkali-activated phosphorus slag-based ceramic membranes: synthesis and optimization for dehydration of ethanol''. This research represents the first attempt to address the challenges of alkali-activated blast furnace slag ceramic membranes by exploring alkali-activated phosphorus slag as a potential material for synthesizing ceramic membranes. Furthermore, a comprehensive analysis was conducted on the interplay between key factors influencing the properties of common alkali-activated cementitious materials and their impact on membrane properties, including hydrophilicity, flexural strength, and topographical properties, thermogravimetric characterization and membrane performance.

I would like to draw your attention to a unique aspect of this study, which focuses on the morphology of alkali-activated ceramic membranes (AACMs). By employing FESEM & AFM imaging techniques at various scales ranging from microns to nanometers, a striking resemblance between the morphology of AACMs and alkali-activated cementitious materials has been established.

This research provides a unique perspective on the world of ceramic membranes, with a focus on addressing and mitigating their challenges (e.g., expensive materials, sintering, complex fabrication method). Moreover, it emphasizes the alignment with the UN-Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs), specifically SDG 12.

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