Fly ash is a product of burning finely ground coal in a boiler to produce electricity. It is removed from the plant exhaust gases primarily by electrostatic precipitators, or baghouses and secondarily by scrubber systems. Physically, fly ash is a very fine, powdery material, composed mostly of silica. Nearly all particles are spherical in shape. Fly ash is generally light tan in color and consists mostly of silt-sized and clay-sized glassy spheres. This gives fly ash a consistency somewhat like talcum powder.
Fly ash is a pozzolan, a siliceous material which in the presence of water will react with calcium hydroxide at ordinary temperatures to produce cementitious compounds. Because of its spherical shape and pozzolanic properties, fly ash is useful in cement and concrete applications. The spherical shape and particle size distribution of fly ash also make it a good mineral filler in hot mix asphalt applications and improve the fluidity of flowable fill and grout.
Fly ash applications include its use as a:
- Raw material in concrete products and grout
- Feed stock in the production of cement
- Fill material for structural applications and embankments
- Ingredient in waste stabilization and/or solidification
- Ingredient in soil modification and/or stabilization
- Component of flowable fill
- Component in road bases, sub-bases, and pavement
- Mineral filler in asphalt