Biomasses are organic materials that are derived from any living or recently-living structure. Plenty of biomasses are produced nationwide. Biomasses are mostly combusted and usually discarded or disposed of without treatment as biomass ashes, which include wood and sugarcane bagasse ashes. Thus, recycling or treatment of biomass ashes leads to utilizing the natural materials as an economical and environmental alternative. This study is intended to provide an environmental solution for uncontrolled disposal of biomass ashes by way of recycling the biomass ash and replacing the soils in geotechnical engineering projects. Therefore, in this study, characteristic tests of wood and sugarcane bagasse ashes that are considered the most common biomass ashes are conducted. The test of chemical compositions of biomass ashes is conducted using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and heavy metal analysis is also conducted. Engineering behaviors including hydraulic conductivity, constrained modulus and shear modulus are examined. Also, coal fly ash Class C is used in this study for comparison with biomass ashes, and Ottawa 20/30 sands containing biomass ashes are examined to identify the soil replacement effect of biomass ashes. The results show that the particle sizes of biomass ashes are halfway between coal fly ash Class C and Ottawa 20/30 sand, and biomass ashes consist of a heterogeneous mixture of different particle sizes and shapes. Also, all heavy metal concentrations were found to be below the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum limit. Hydraulic conductivity values of Ottawa 20/30 sand decrease significantly when replacing them with only 1%–2% of biomass ashes. While both the constrained modulus and shear modulus of biomass ashes are lower than Ottawa 20/30 sand, those of mixtures containing up to 10% biomass ashes are little affected by replacing the soils with biomass ashes.
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