Engineering Characteristics of Coal Combustion Residuals and a Reconstitution Technique for Triaxial Samples
Lacour, Nicholas Alexander
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Traditionally, coal combustion residuals (CCRs) were disposed of with little engineering consideration. Initially, common practice was to use a wet-scrubbing system to cut down on emissions of fly ash from the combustion facilities, where the ash materials were sluiced to the disposal facility and allowed to sediment out, forming deep deposits of meta-stable ash. As the life of the disposal facility progressed, new phases of the impoundment were constructed, often using the upstream method. One such facility experienced a massive slope stability failure on December 22, 2008 in Kingston, Tennessee, releasing millions of cubic yards of impounded ash material into the Watts Bar reservoir and damaging surrounding property. This failure led to the call for new federal regulations on CCR disposal areas and led coal burning facilities to seek out geotechnical consultants to review and help in the future design of their disposal facilities. CCRs are not a natural soil, nor a material that many geotechnical engineers deal with on a regular basis, so this thesis focuses on compiling engineering characteristics of CCRs determined by different researchers, while also reviewing current engineering practice when dealing with CCR disposal facilities. Since the majority of coal-burning facilities used the sluicing method to dispose of CCRs at one point, many times it is desirable to construct new "dry-disposal" phases above the retired ash impoundments; since in-situ sampling of CCRs is difficult and likely produces highly disturbed samples, a sample reconstitution technique is also presented for use in triaxial testing of surface impounded CCRs.
- Masters Theses