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Nano-Scale Rare Earth Distribution in Fly Ash Derived from the Combustion of the Fire Clay Coal, Kentucky

Center for Applied Energy Research, University of Kentucky, 2540 Research Park Drive, Lexington, KY 40511, USA
Electron Microscopy Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2019, 9(4), 206;
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 26 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 30 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Collection Minerals in Coal and Coal Combustion Products)
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Fly ash from the combustion of eastern Kentucky Fire Clay coal in a southeastern United States pulverized-coal power plant was studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and selected area electron diffraction (SAED). TEM combined with elemental analysis via energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) showed that rare earth elements (REE; specifically, La, Ce, Nd, Pr, and Sm) were distributed within glassy particles. In certain cases, the REE were accompanied by phosphorous, suggesting a monazite or similar mineral form. However, the electron diffraction patterns of apparent phosphate minerals were not definitive, and P-lean regions of the glass consisted of amorphous phases. Therefore, the distribution of the REE in the fly ash seemed to be in the form of TEM-visible nano-scale crystalline minerals, with additional distributions corresponding to overlapping ultra-fine minerals and even true atomic dispersion within the fly ash glass. View Full-Text
Keywords: lanthanides; monazite; coal combustion products lanthanides; monazite; coal combustion products

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Hower, J.C.; Qian, D.; Briot, N.J.; Santillan-Jimenez, E.; Hood, M.M.; Taggart, R.K.; Hsu-Kim, H. Nano-Scale Rare Earth Distribution in Fly Ash Derived from the Combustion of the Fire Clay Coal, Kentucky. Minerals 2019, 9, 206.

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