Understanding dissolution characteristics of steel slag for resource recovery

Raghavendra Ragipani, Sankar Bhattacharya, Suresh K. Akkihebbal

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Steel slags are generally alkaline with a high calcium content and are viewed as a potential feedstock for carbon dioxide sequestration and utilization, mostly through aqueous mineral carbonation routes. For recovery of multiple metals such as Ca, Fe, Mg, and Si, and generation of value-added products by dissolution and precipitation reactions in aqueous media, enhancing the metal selectivity and extraction efficiency are important. However, there is limited understanding of independent parameters that influence these important characteristics. In this work, a systematic attempt was made to correlate these key dissolution characteristics of basic oxygen furnace slag in acidic media with its mineralogical and physical characteristics, the changes in aqueous chemistry, and the role of potential secondary precipitates. The findings from this study substantiate that steel slag is a potential feedstock because of the calcium being mainly present as orthosilicates, which were found to leach congruently without forming a leached layer that might hinder calcium extraction. The leaching of Fe(II) from the slag is the main source of impurity and its slow oxidation-precipitation leads to a pH plateau at the end of the dissolution step. Oxidation-precipitation of Fe(II) is controlled by hydroxyl concentration in the aqueous solution, which necessitates a pH-swing step by addition of a base after dissolution. Use of surface complexing agents, such as sodium molybdate, can significantly reduce iron impurity in the leachate and obtain an iron-rich slag residue for recycle to iron and steel industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-187
Number of pages9
JournalWaste Management
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Calcium selectivity
  • Iron recovery
  • Leaching
  • pH-swing
  • Rietveld refinement
  • Steel slag

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