Valorisation of waste ilmenite mud in the manufacture of sulphur polymer cement


This paper reports the preparation of sulphur polymer cements (SPCs) incorporating waste ilmenite mud for use in concrete construction works. The ilmenite mud raw material and the mud-containing SPCs (IMC-SPCs) were characterised physico-chemically and radiologically. The optimal IMC-SPC mixture had a sulphur/mud ratio (w/w) of 1.05 (mud dose 20 wt%); this cement showed the greatest compressive strength (64 MPa) and the lowest water absorption coefficient (0.4 g cm−2 at 28 days). Since ilmenite mud is enriched in natural radionuclides, such as radium isotopes (2.0·103 Bq kg−1228Ra and 5.0·102 Bq kg−1 226Ra), the IMC-SPCs were subjected to leaching experiments, which showed their environmental impact to be negligible. The activity concentration indices for the different radionuclides in the IMC-SPCs containing 10% and 20% ilmenite mud met the demands of international standards for materials used in the construction of non-residential buildings.