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An SEM Investigation of the Pozzolanic Activity of a Waste Catalyst from Oil Refinery

Costa, C. C. ; Marques, P. M. ; Carvalho, P. C.

Microscopy and Microanalysis Vol. 18, Nº 5, pp. 75 - 76, September, 2012.

ISSN (print): 1431-9276
ISSN (online): 1435-8115

Journal Impact Factor: (in )

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1017/S1431927612013037

The most active phase of the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalyst, used in oil refinery, is zeolite-Y which is an aluminosilicate with a high internal and external surface area responsible for its high reactivity. Waste FCC catalyst is potentially able to be reused in cement-based materials - as an additive - undergoing a pozzolanic reaction with calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) formed during cement hydration. This reaction produces additional strength-providing reaction products i.e., calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) and hydrous calcium aluminates (C-A-H) which exact chemical formula and structure are still unknown. Partial replacement of cement by waste FCC catalyst has two key advantages: (1) lowering of cement production with the associated pollution reduction as this industry represents one of the largest sources of man-made CO2 emissions, and (2) improving the mechanical properties and durability of cement-based materials. Despite these advantages, there is a lack of fundamental knowledge on pozzolanic reaction mechanisms as well as spatial distribution of porosity and solid phases interactions at the microstructural level and consequently their relationship with macroscopical engineering properties of catalyst/cement blends.