Immobilisation of metal in quartz sands by ball milling
Previous work has shown that when inorganic compounds are milled with quartz in a high energy ball mill the elements are sequestered into the quartz matrix and cannot be easily recovered by simple extraction methods. In this study lead (II) oxide, copper (II) oxide, magnesium oxide, zinc oxide and sodium hydroxide were milled with quartz sand and the recoveries of the metals investigated in detail. The standard EPA3050B method (acid digestion of sediments, sludge and soils) for extractable metals was compared to exhaustive HF digestion method based on ASTM C146-94a (test methods for chemical analysis of glass sand) and UDC 666.123:543.06 (chemical analysis of soda-lime and borosilicate glass). From these two analyses the total recovery of metals was determined. It was found that the elements extracted by the EPA3050B method decreased in an approximately logarithmic way with milling time. The metals are apparently strongly sequestered into the fractured quartz. Total HF digestion of the insoluble matrix gave good recovery of the “lost” elements. A reliable analytical procedure has been developed and the mechanisms leading to this sequestering are discussed. Particle size analysis and electron microscopy of milled samples support a process of brittle alloy formation as the proposed mechanism whereby the elements are sequestered into the milled quartz.