Microscopic and chemical characterization of elephant grass and corn leaves and their ashes

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CONGRESO Microscopic and chemical characterization of elephant grass and corn leaves and their ashes

Abstract

Many agrowastes are being used for energy production by combustion in thermal power plants. This process generates huge amounts of ashes, which have a potential pozzolanic activity for blending with Portland cement or hydrated lime. The reason for the interest on the ash reactivity is due to amorphous silica present in the plant. This compound is accumulated in the vegetable tissues and remains in the ashes after combustion. Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and corn (Zea mays) are two types of biomass whose ashes could be valorized in construction materials. The aim of the present research is to analyze the chemical composition of leaves and the corresponding ashes in terms of inorganic elements characterization (silicon, potassium, calcium, sodium, chloride,..). Also microscopy studies (FESEM, SEM, optical) on the dried leaves and the ashes obtained at different calcination temperatures will be carried out, in order to determine how the silica is presented in different cellular structures (e.g. phytoliths). Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) will be applied for quantifying the percentage of the main elements.