2004 Volume 42 Issue 2 Pages 277-285
The quantities of two forms of crystalline silica, tridymite and cristobalite, in heated rice husk ash (RHA) samples were determined by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and chemical methods. Two RHA samples, containing 93% SiO2 and 2-3% K2O, were prepared from charcoaled rice husk products and heated to above 900°C. The crystalline silica made up over 60-80% of the total silica in the heated RHA samples based on the XRD analysis. The crystalline phases in the two samples were somewhat different: The sample heated in the temperature range of 900 to 1, 200°C contained 52-62% cristobalite and 10-17% tridymite, but the other sample heated at a comparable temperature, above 1, 100°C, contained 46-66% tridymite and 37-16% cristobalite. Based on a correlation of lower tridymite crystallization temperature with higher potassium content, it was concluded that higher potassium levels were responsible for this difference. The pyrophosphoric acid analysis did not give exact results in the evaluation of total crystalline silica content in these RHA samples. As the combustion of rice husk was considered to cover the demands for energy and silica resource in Asian countries, cristobalite and tridymite crystallized in RHA by burning of rice husk should be assessed precisely by XRD analysis and the airborne dust in relevant workplace be controlled.