Pinakidou, F.; Katsikini, M.; Varitis, S.; Komninou, Ph.; Schuck, G.; Paloura, E. C.: Probing the structural role of Cr in stabilized tannery wastes with X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy. Journal of Hazardous Materials 402 (2021), p. 123734/1-8

The effective stabilization of tannery sludge wastes is explored using X-Ray Absorption Fine Structure (XAFS) spectroscopies. Solidification of the Cr-rich waste was realized via vitrification of the incinerated sludge with silica and flux agents. It is demonstrated that the effective reduction of Cr(VI) and the structural role of Cr are strongly modulated by the chemical composition of the waste. Eskolaite microcrystallites are embedded in the silica matrix of all vitrified samples and the extent of microcrystalline formation is strongly related to the glass basicity. Both Cr(VI) and Cr(III) species are identified, corresponding to Cr(VI)O4 glass formers and Cr(III)O6 network modifiers. The toxic Cr(VI) prevails only in the glasses with the highest basicity index and lowest waste content, nevertheless it is safely incorporated and immobilized in the silica matrix. However, the detected abundance of Cr(VI) increases glass basicity and as a result, glass polymerization is hindered. Thermal treatment, a process that leads to glass-ceramics transforms almost all Cr(VI) to Cr(III), while eskolaite formation is promoted concurrently. Nevertheless, microcrystalline growth proceeds mainly via depletion of Cr(III) from the silica matrix and not from the reduced Cr(VI); yet, Cr-removal from the glass matrix does not impair the chemical stability of the devitrified products.