High-calcium fly ashes contain a large content of small particles including cenospheres of chemical constituents known to be similar to fly ash and the parent coal. Coal fly ash contains metal and trace elements that may leach out during disposal or utilization. This work aimed to understand an overview of cenosphere characteristics relating to fly ash and leaching study. To our knowledge, this is the first report on metal and trace element leaching of cenospheres separated from high-calcium (28.9 wt.%) class C fly ash produced from the Mae Moh coal-fired thermal power plant in Thailand. In this study, the cenospheres were separated from fly ash by a wet separation process (sink-float method) using water as medium. Physical properties, morphology, chemical composition, the mineral phases of cenospheres and fly ash have been characterized. Extraction was carried out by acid digestion; the selected metal and trace elements in this study are Mg, Al, Zn, Pb, Cd, Cr, and Cu; the obtained environmentally available concentrations of cenospheres were analyzed in comparison to those of fly ash. The concentrations of Cu, Cr, Pb, and Cd elements of interest in the leachates obtained from the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) showed the tendency to decrease in that order. All the elements were found below the permissible limit values regarding Thailand soil quality standards. Association of the heavy metal trace elements in cenospheres and fly ash was discussed in in terms of physico-chemical-geochemistry correlating with the leaching concentrations.
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