Resonant Shock Compaction Solidifies Coal Ash

Resonant Shock Compaction, LLC (RSCL), has a new way to solidify coal ash and other waste into high value building materials. The patented process has already been in commercial use for over 10 years, producing special large refractory components from a variety of materials.

Basically, the material is placed between two “shake” tables, and resonant vibrations are applied, setting up a shock wave. The material flows and intermixes to become very uniform and very hard, compacted by 40-60%. The resulting block or panel contains 80-90% ash material, and is impermeable, nonleaching, and has very high strength, meeting ASTM standards for many construction applications. It also can be sawed and nailed.

The process features low capital costs, high process throughput, and large size shapes, suitable for many types of building products, and enabling new more economical building practices.

Besides turning coal ash into building products, the technology can also immobilize radioactive and hazardous material. A remediation service based on RSC is under discussion.

The technology has also been tested in combination with Argonne’s Ceramicrete binder (see UFTO Note October 23, 1997), and substantially enhances the performance of that process.

The company will grant site licenses, and is seeking equity investment for working capital and to support business development. Discussions and negotiations are already underway with a number of utilities. A revised business plan will be ready shortly, and technical and economic information is available from the company.

Contact: RSC,LLC, Denver CO
Keith Weir or Robert Pressey, 303-316-4080

Company News Release January 14, 1998

Resonant Shock Compaction, LLC (RSCL), a Colorado corporation, exclusively licenses the patented and proven resonant shock compaction (RSC) technology. The RSC technology converts coal combustion byproducts or mine tailings into value-added building materials. The process is also used to compact and stabilize hazardous and radioactive contaminated soil and debris for storage and disposal.

RSC applies rapid periodic impacts to granular material (e.g., coal ash, mine tailings, and soil) placed in a mold, to reduce volume and porosity. When combined with inexpensive proprietary binders, resonant shock compaction produces construction blocks, pavers and panels, or compacts and stabilizes waste for storage and disposal. The throughput is nominally 100 tons per day. Capital and operating costs are low.

RSCL has completed a series of developmental programs this past year to qualify resonant shock compaction for (1) converting coal combustion byproducts (CCB’s) into building materials and (2) treating radioactive and heavy metal contaminated soils for storage and disposal. Public Service Company of Colorado has supported a development program to convert Class F fly ash, Class C fly ash, and bottom ash into concrete-like blocks, pavers, and panels. Argonne National Laboratories (DOE) and the University of Denver supported the soil remediation program.

At the 1997 DOE Low Level Mixed Waste Conference it was reported that resonant shock compacted samples of cadmium and chromium contaminated soils passed TCLP leach test, were volume reduce by 50%, and greatly strengthened using cementaceous fly ash, and proprietary phosphates. Argonne National Laboratories conducted a comparison of resonant shock compaction, hydraulic pressing, and block compaction of contaminated soils and ashes incorporating their proprietary Ceramacrete binder. Results have shown the strength of resonant shock compaction parts to be far superior to block compaction, and with porosity and volume reduction superior to pressing.

ASTM certified laboratory tests reported that resonant shock compaction CCB ash- based products met ASTM compressive strength and durability (low porosity or freeze- thaw resistance) standards for aggregate, construction brick, facing brick, pedestrian light pavers, traffic interlocking pavers, concrete grids, and concrete blocks.

These products have the strength and durability of concrete or brick masonry products yet are as easily sawed, nailed, screwed, or bolted with conventional construction tools as wood, and less expensive than either. Tilt-up panels, for industrial or residential buildings, can be fabricated with built-in nailing studs and utility channels, which are immediately ready for finishes such as insulation, painting. stucco, plaster, or dry wall.

RSCL is developing a transportable resonant shock compaction unit for on-site processing of CCB’s or contaminated soil. This unit will validate capital, operating costs, manufacturing costs, and production capacity. It will also measure flexibility to produce durable (low porosity, freeze-thaw resistant) ash-based construction materials and stabilized waste. RSCL is seeking partners to develop a 50-100 tons per day commercial plant estimated to cost $500,000 to $1,000,000. Products can be manufactured as blocks or panels (up to one ton), or waste compacted into 55 gallon barrels.

For additional information or arranging tests of your materials please contact:

Robert Pressey, Managing Director, 303-316-4080 fax 303-316-8490

Ceramicrete Phosphate Ceramic

Ceramicrete Phosphate Ceramic (…particularly applicable to fly-ash)

Argonne has developed this low-cost, ceramic binder which can be used in a wide variety of commercial applications, ranging from hazardous waste disposal to low-cost insulation. Since it won the R&D 100 award in 1996, Argonne has had more than 100 serious licensing inquiries, so they are setting strict conditions that applicants have a specific application and a well developed business plan. They’re open to collaboration for development and testing to see what specifications can be met with the particular materials in question.

Called CERAMICRETE, the binder — developed to stabilize and solidify radioactive and hazardous wastes — can also join ceramics together and convert nonhazardous wastes into useful construction products and nonflammable structural materials. It is formed by mixing magnesium oxide powder and soluble phosphate powder (common low cost materials) with water.

It is particularly applicable to fly-ash, because it is completely insensitive to the pH level, and it immobilizes virtually any type of contaminant, including mercury and other heavy metals. It forms a nonporous leach-resistant, hard, and dense ceramic which lab tests indicate meet or pass the EPA TCLP leaching standards.

CERAMICRETE can be manufactured at a low cost compared to other ceramic binders because it is made at room temperature and does not need high-temperature treatment. The setting times are short. Equipment needed is conventional (much like for cement) and hence is readily available, and training required for operations is simple.

The final material can be cast in any shape, and is very dense and strong. It can be used as a structural material in buildings, roads or other structures, or as brick, blocks, or tiles. It has compressive strength ranging from 2000 psi with binder to 6-8000 psi and even more with binder plus additives. In fact, the materials properties can be tailored, with strength increased by compaction during formation.

Besides solidifying wastes, the process can be used to convert lumber wastes into non-flammable particle board or to recycle waste plastic into blowable insulation that is fire- and moisture-proof. CERAMICRETE has already been used to make insulation products with thermal resistance (R values) of 4.5 per inch.

Argonne is using the CERAMICRETE process to stabilize low-level radioactive waste, such as soil, sludge, and lead bricks in a 55-gallon drum mixer. Contaminated wastes that contain radioactive contaminants and hazardous volatiles, such as mercury, lead, and cadmium are solidified in the binding process at room temperature to form a ceramic, noncorrosive, and final waste form. The process is unique because contaminants are converted and stabilized chemically into their natural minerals in a single step. Once encapsulated, the chemicals do not dissolve in groundwater and are isolated from the environment. Performance tests show that the waste forms far exceed the regulatory performance criteria set by DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Contact: Don Johnson, Director, Center for Industrial Technology Systems 630-252-3392


>From the 18th U.S. Department of Energy Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, on May 20-22, 1997.


A. S. Wagh, D. Singh, S. Y. Jeong, and R. V. Strain
Energy Technology Division, Argonne National Laboratory


During the last three years, Ceramicrete (chemically bonded phosphate ceramics) has been investigated at Argonne-East for low-temperature stabilization and solidification of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE’s) mixed wastes, for which conventional high-temperature treatments cannot be used because of volatiles and pyrophorics present in these wastes. This paper summarizes the development of Ceramicrete and provides the current technology status. We discuss our early investigations with surrogates that are typical of DOE mixed wastes, subsequent testing with actual waste streams, and scale-up of the process to an operational level. Current efforts include testing the process at an operational level for an ash waste stream from the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory and obtaining sufficient information to prepare a technology performance report.

Complete paper available at: