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In a first, fly ash particles found in Antarctic ice

  • Category
    Ecology and Environment
  • Published
    28th Apr, 2023


Spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCP), a component of fly ash, have been identified for the first time in an Antarctic ice core, according to a new study.

What is fly ash?

  • Fly ash is a residue generated in combustion and comprises the fine particles that rise with the flue gases. 
  • Fly ash is a heterogeneous material. The main chemical components present in fly ash are:
    • Silicon dioxide
    • Aluminum oxide
    • Ferric oxide
    • Calcium oxide (occasionally)
  • Source: Coal-fired power plants are the biggest sources of fly ash, which contains toxic chemicals such as arsenic, barium, cadmium, nickel and lead, among others.
  • Impact: Without proper management, fly ash can pollute the waterways, ground water, drinking water, and air, posing a risk to humans, wildlife, and the environment.

What are the applications?

  • In the commercial and industrial sectors, fly ash has a wide variety of applications and uses, though it is primarily known for improving the durability and workability of concrete mixes. 
  • Fly ash is also a filler in paints, adhesives, and metal and plastic composites. 
  • It's commonly used as structural fill for road construction and fly ash can be used to make bricks, ceramic tiles, plaster, Portland cement, and ready-mix cement.

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