Journal of Hazardous Materials vol:286 pages:211-219
With an aim of producing high value cementitious binder, stainless steel refining slag containing a high amount of CaO in γ-dicalcium silicate form was activated with NaOH and Na-silicate as well as KOH and K-silicate solutions, followed by steam curing at 80 °C. Higher levels of alkali-silicate in the activating solution resulted in higher cumulative heat suggesting accelerated reaction kinetics. With respect to compressive strength, higher levels of alkali silicate resulted in higher strength and the mortars with Na activator were found to have higher early strength than the ones with K activator. The long term strength was found to be similar, regardless of the alkali metal. Thermogravimetric, QXRD and FTIR analyses showed an increase in the amount of reaction products (C-S-H type) over time, further confirming the reactivity of the crystalline slag. Batch leaching results showed lower leaching of heavy metals and metalloids with K activator compared to the Na activator. These results demonstrate that the alkali type and the ratio of hydroxide to silicates have a significant impact on the hydration and mechanical strength development of the stainless steel slag. The above findings can aid in the recycling and valorisation of these type of slags which otherwise end up landfilled.