http://wvwri.nrcce.wvu.edu/programs/cbrc/reports/99ECM07.pdf

In a recent dispatch, now accessible on the West Virginia Coal Association's web site via the link:

West Virginia Coal Association | Coal Ash Conserves Energy, Reduces CO2 and Saves Trees | Research & Development;

we made report of a document from the United States Geological Survey, which catalogues some of the productive uses in which our solid Coal Utilization Byproducts, CUB's, can be employed.

That document is identified as:

"US Geological Survey Fact Sheet 076-01: Coal Combustion Products;The U.S.Geological Survey collaborates with the American Coal Ash Association in preparing its annual report on coal combustion products. This Fact Sheet answers questions about present and potential uses of coal combustion products"; 

and, contains within it, among other things, information concerning the fact, that:

"Researchers at the University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale are working on the design for utility poles made of CCP's and organic binders. The researchers expect that the final product will be comparable to or even superior to the traditional creosote-coated wooden poles. In addition to eliminating the need for weatherproofing with creosote, which pollutes rainwater runoff, the CCPpoles would be fireproof and termite proof, would be cheaper to install, and would be more resistant to damage by humans and animals. It is estimated that 250,000 poles averaging 30-40 feet (9-12 meters) in height and another million poles 15-30 feet (4.5-9 meters) in height are used annually in the Midwestern United States alone.

Replacing wooden poles with CCPpoles could double the use of fly ash while sparing millions of trees annually".

Keeping in mind that replacing wooden utility poles with poles made, in large part, out of Coal Fly Ash would spare "millions of" Carbon Dioxide-recycling "trees annually", we herein submit a full report on that application, as excerpted, with comment inserted and appended, from the initial link in this dispatch to:

"Development and Demonstration of Coal Combustion Byproducts  -Filled Composite Materials for Utility Pole Fabrication; Final Report

By: Yoginder P. Chugh, Jinrong Ma; Mining and Mineral Resources Engineering; Southern Illinois University; Carbondale, Illinois 62901

For: Combustion Byproducts Recycling Consortium; West Virginia University; Morgantown, WV

(We remind you that we have also made earlier report, as accessible via:

West Virginia Coal Association | The Coal Combustion Byproducts Recycling Consortium | Research & Development;

of the Coal Combustion Byproducts Recycling Consortium, a group of concerned entities, with headquarters at West Virginia University, who manage and coordinate research, throughout US Coal Country, devoted to the productive reuse of the solid residua resulting from our essential employment of Coal in the generation of economical electric power.)

Background: The utility industries currently utilize wooden poles for installation of cables, lights, telephone, and transmission lines. It is estimated that over one million poles are utilized annually in the Midwestern region in the US varying in height from 15 feet to 40 feet. A wooden pole is relatively lightweight, easily trimmed to desired length, and easy to work with. However, as a naturally occurring material, its engineering characteristics are anisotropic and subject to wide variation. Wood is much stronger when loaded axially (along the grain) than when loaded transversely (perpendicular to the grain). Soft spots, knots, and voids within the wood cause the wooden structure to be weaker than anticipated. (It has been) indicated that the strength of a wood typically drops about 50% due to a two-inch knot. A section of wood may appear to be free of defects to the naked eye, but may include one, or all, of the aforementioned defects. Wood generally absorbs moisture, which decreases its engineering properties and causes decay over time. As the moisture content of the wood increases, the strength of the wood generally decreases. (Other researchers) identified that the moisture content of wood is a major limiting factor in the strength of wood products. For pine, crushing strength decreases by 82% as the moisture content increases to 50%.

To alleviate the wood decay problems, chemical pre-treatment of a wooden pole is a common practice. In addition to expense (usually $35 per pole every 5-years), effects of the chemical and preservatives on environment is also of concern.

The chemicals usually do not remain within poles and ooze to the surface, evaporate and may move into the soil and/or water under and around poles, which may create localized environmental issues.

The above disadvantages of wooden poles concerns have prompted the investigation for alternative engineered poles, which should be of higher strength, lightweight, chemically inert, safe to environment, and should require less costly post-installation maintenance. Metal (such as steel, aluminum, or alloy) utility poles first came into the picture due to their known engineering properties. However, they are expensive and also suffer from corrosion problems, again reducing service life and increasing life cycle cost with required maintenance. Concrete utility poles have also been used. But neither metal nor concrete utility poles have gained popularity because they are usually heavy and their installation in remote areas requires large capacity equipment and special access roads to be constructed, that are expensive. In the last decade, polymer-based reinforced poles have been developed that are entering the market. This project was undertaken to design and develop coal combustion byproducts CCBs-filled fiberglass reinforced polymeric composite materials (green material) for utility poles including transmission poles as the replacement for current wooden poles.

During recent decades, Fiber Reinforces Composite (FRC) utility poles have received interest and have been made possible by development of composites technology. Advances in polymer chemistry have led to development of specific resins that are not susceptible to ultraviolet radiation degradation. More importantly, production cost has been reduced with the development of high-speed manufacturing processes and the stabilization of raw material prices. These developments have opened the possibilities of developing engineered FRC utility poles that are competitive with other poles in the market place. Compared with a conventional wooden, concrete, or metal poles, a FRC utility pole should possesses the following major advantages:

1. Meet specific engineering applications, including color.
2. Should have no negative environmental impacts.
3. Should be light- weight. Typically, a 40 ft class-4 wooden pole weighs about 1,100 lb, whereas a similar FRC utility pole would weigh only about 200 – 400lbs.
4. Lower installation cost. This is especially advantageous for pole installation in remote locations, where transporting the poles with helicopter may be the only practical choice.
5. Should not decay over time due to very low moisture absorption.
6. Should resist pests, woodpeckers, and chemical corrosion and therefore its service life should be longer than a wooden pole.

Adding mineral fillers into a polymer based composite is a common practice in the composite materials industries due to the benefits that filler brings such as reduced cost and improved properties of the manufactured parts.

CCBs are the inorganic residues that remain after pulverized coal is burned at a power plant. CCBs can be classified as a mineral based on their chemistry and physical properties. The characteristics of CCBs are very close to a number of commercial fillers, such as small particle size, vast and widely distributed supplies, low cost, etc. Previous studies have indicted that the use of fly ash as a polymer filler has promise with the following three major benefits:

1. Lower material cost. The matrix material, resin or polymer, is generally expensive ($1- $3/lb) and constitutes the major part of the cost of final composite products. In comparison with common mineral fillers such as calcium carbonate, CCBs (is/are) a very cheap filler mineral source because it is a low value byproduct with small particle size and uniform particle size distribution ranging from 10 to 40 microns.

2. Improved processing behavior and physical and engineering properties of the products. Addition of fly ash into a polymer composite typically increases the strength and stiffness, and impact resistance of the finished products. (Cited) studies show that it also increases surface hardness and reduces shrinkage of the products.

3. Utilization of CCBs as a mineral filler can be an ideal way to use the low value byproduct material in an economically beneficial and environmentally sound manner.

This research was focused on the development and demonstration of the CCBs-filled FRC material for utility poles. Successful development and commercialization of the CCBs- filled FRC utility poles should increase current utilization of CCBs in the US by about 10% with additional benefits described above.

CCBs as filler in composite materials: CCBs have been attempted as filler in thermoplastic and thermo-set resins to make structural materials. (Researchers have) used F fly ash as filler material in plastics.

In Poland, fly ash micro-spheres were incorporated in polyurethane to develop composites.

(See, for some more information on the above, for one example, our report of:

West Virginia Coal Association | Wisconsin Recovers "Cenospheres" from Coal Fly Ash | Research & Development; concerning: "United States Patent 8,074,804 - Separation of Cenospheres from Fly Ash; 2011; Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Milwaukee".)

(Others have) incorporated fly ash as aggregate in polymer concrete. In India, (scientists) evaluated the ultimate tensile strength, elastic modulus and fracture properties of epoxy resin filled with fly ash. They incorporated 105 mm mean particle size F fly ash, 20% by weight and found that the tensile strength decreased and elastic modulus increased with the increase in fly ash percentage.

(Others have) produced unsaturated polyester resin from plastic beverage bottles and mixed it with inorganic aggregates (sand and gravel and fly ash) to produce polyester concrete.

(Scientists) replaced sand with fly ash in polyester mortar and found that replacement of sand with fly ash was beneficial for the production of good quality polyester mortar.

Fly ash filled unsaturated polyester composites were found to have a higher flexural modulus than those containing calcium carbonate.

(The full report goes into an immense amount of technical detail concerning the engineering concerns that went into the design of their Coal Ash utility poles; and, unless you're inexplicably interested in such arcane technical minutiae as "Castigliano’s theorem", "Poisson’s ratio", "Kirchoff hypotheses", and the "Tsai-Wu criterion" it is most definitely not recommended reading. We are summarizing and condensing in the extreme.)

(One) important result observed was the effect of the fly ash loading level on the elastic modulus of the composite. In previous studies, it was found that elastic modulus peaks around 10% - 15% ash loading level. Test results with more uniform size fly ash show that the elastic modulus of the composite increased with fly ash loading levels up to 30%. This is a positive finding because adding fly ash up to 30% (by weight) will decrease material cost by saving resin.

Manufacturing of the CCBs-filled FRC model utility pole:

Pultrusion process was adopted in this study to manufacture the FRC pole. Pultrusion is a manufacturing process in which unidirectional filaments (fiber bundles or roving) with other fabric mats are impregnated with resin and pulled through a heated die to produce long prismatic structural components with a desired cross-section... The process has higher production efficiency.

As the glass passes through the wet-out bath and through the injection manifolds, it is completely saturated with a thermo-set resin that includes the CCBs fillers, catalyst, etc.

As the glass enters the back of the die it is under high pressure, which forces out any air and excess resin from the reinforcement. Once inside the controlled heated die, the part passes through various stages of heat, which initiates catalyst systems to react within the laminate allowing the layers of reinforcement s to be mechanically fixed to each other resulting in a solidified laminate exiting the die. Upon exiting the puller, the laminate passes through the final stage of a cut off saw where it is cut to its final length.

The CCBs-filled composite materials were also characterized for their water absorption, dielectric constant, and UV resistance by Ashland Chemicals, Inc.

Adding CCBs in the composite reduces water absorption.

No surface flaws were observed after exposing the material to UV for 500 hours.

Summary and Conclusions: 

The goal of this study was to establish technical and economic feasibility of developing and fabricating CCBs-based composite utility poles to replace similar wooden poles. This summary presents an overview of all the work completed to date on the project.

- CCBs-filled polymer composite materials that are suitable for engineered utility poles were developed.

These materials may contain about 18% high LOI, as received FBC fly ash ... .

(The "LOI" means to "Loss On Ignition", and refers to an issue we have previously made report of, which is that some carbon remains unburned in some power plant fly ash, due, in part, to somewhat newly-required emissions controls. That residual carbon is an issue when Coal fly ash is to be used as an aggregate or filler for Portland Cement Concrete, PCC, and, as we have documented, for one example, in:

West Virginia Coal Association | Virginia Converts Coal Ash to Cash | Research & Development; concerning, in part: "South Carolina Electric and Gas Successful Application of Carbon Burn-Out (CBO) at the Wateree Station; Center for Applied Energy Research, University of Kentucky; South Carolina Electric and Gas Company; Progress Materials, Inc.; and, Southeastern Ash Co., Inc.; CBO combusts residual carbon in fly-ash, producing a very consistent, low-carbon, high-quality pozzolan";

technologies have been developed to remove the residual carbon, and, thus, make the contaminated fly ash suitable as a fine aggregate for use in PCC. That extra step, according to the results of the research reported herein, is apparently not necessary for fly ash that will be used as a composite filler in plastic resins.)

The strength and stiffness engineering properties and weathering properties of these (fly ash) filled materials are superior to polymer alone.

· Studies for determining if larger amounts of appropriately graded fly ash may be added to develop composites for utility poles fabrication were performed. The results indicate that if fly ash less than 75 microns is utilized instead of as received fly ash, up to 30% fly ash may be added to yield composites suitable for utility pole fabrication.

· A cylindrical fiber reinforced utility pole was proposed. The proposed pole design consists of a very stiff outer shell without ultra- lightweight inner core material. Each 35 ft pole may use about 40 to 50 lb of CCBs based on 10% fly ash loading level.

(Again, though, it is feasible to consider utilizing "up to 30% fly ash".)

- Theoretical structural analysis was conducted on the FRC utility pole to relate the various dimensional parameters of the composite pole with the structural bending stiffness of the wooden pole. With the developed formulas, preliminary composite pole designs were identified by keeping the structural bending stiffness the same for the composite pole and wooden pole.

- The commercial production process was demonstrated in a facility in Pennsylvania to produce 200-feet of about 5-inch diameter and 3/16 inch wall thickness pipe containing 5% and 10% FBC fly ash for engineering performance studies.

- The pultruded FRC outer-shell materials were characterized using various ASTM test methods, including axial tension, axial compression, off-axis tension, offaxial compression, flexural bending, water absorption, dielectric constant, and UV protection.

- Engineering performance studies were performed on the fabricated model pole, including ultra-violet degradation, water absorption, strength-deformation properties in tension, compression, and flexure, and full-size cantilever testing.

- Two 10-foot poles were installed 30- months ago at the Illinois Coal Development Park for weathering studies. To date, no effects of UV degradation have been observed by Ashland staff and the poles look like they are brand new.

- The results of these studies indicate that commercial production of CCBs-based utility poles is technically, and environmentally feasible and should be pursued to meet market needs in the Midwest.

- The commercial production of CCBs-based utility poles is economically feasible as developed by industrial partners. The estimated payback period for investment is about 4 years.

Conclusion; Based on the research and laboratory tests conducted during the project period, the following conclusions can be made:

- It is possible to engineer a CCBs-based composite pole that will meet or exceed ANSI standards.

- Fly ash polymers based material, appropriate for manufacturing composite utility poles, can be developed.

- Studies indicate that it is possible to develop 70 to 75 pcf glass- fiber reinforced outer shell material, which can provide a tensile strength of 30,000 to 45,000 psi with an elastic modulus ranging from 2 to 4 million psi.

- Laboratory testing of fly ash-polymer-based outer shell reveals that fly ash as filler in polymer does have a positive effect on the outer shell material stiffness and strength. The maximum percentage of as-received fly ash should not exceed 15%. However, for graded fly ash, the maximum amount of fly ash may be
increased to 30%.

- Test results of the inner core material show that, with a combination of chemical and mechanical systems, a mix with a reduced density of about 30 pcf and containing over 50% fly ash is achievable.

Recommendations for future work: Research performed to date has significant potential to develop composite utility poles and other similar products."

------------------------

In sum, we can, efficiently and economically, make utility poles out of Coal Fly Ash-reinforced polymers.

That would, as Southern Illinois University specifies, spare, literally, millions of actively CO2-recycling trees from the axe, per year; and, thus, preserve many, many acres of wildlife habitat.

Of greater, vastly greater, economic importance, however, is the point not explicitly made herein:

Southern Illinois University has established the technical basis, and the technical and economic rationales, for utilizing Coal Ash in polymer and plastics composites generally, through the specific case of utility pole manufacture.

Many, many things, vastly more many things than utility poles, are already being manufactured with various sorts of plastics "filled", as is the technical jargon, with particles of inorganic minerals.

There is even an entire industry founded on the supply of such fillers, as indicated, for just two examples, by:

SMI: Plastics; "Specialty Minerals Products for Plastics; Plastic products are everywhere - in our homes, our cars, our workplaces, and where we have fun. Resin manufacturers have developed whole ranges of polymers with ever increasing performance and/or economy which have helped plastics replace more traditional materials such as wood, metal and glass. Minerals such as talc, calcium carbonates and barytes, are often used in these plastic products. These minerals can provide functionalities, increasing the performance of the resin, adding impact strength, flexural modulus (stiffness), faster molding cycles, dimensional stability with less warpage, sound deadening, surface finish, sandability, and thickening. These minerals are also used as cost-reducing fillers by extending or replacing the more expensive resins and making the finished products more affordable for the consumer"; and:

Mineral fillers - Industrial minerals customised for industry; "Minerals are used extensively in many plastic and rubber applications. Minelco manufacture and supply a wide range of mineral products developed for this industry which impart a vareity of properties from flame retardancy to reinforcement".

And, the work reported herein by Southern Illinois University, as reported to West Virginia University, could, without doubt, provide the technical and economic basis for the practical and profitable employment of, literally, millions of tons of Coal Fly Ash in those sorts of applications.

By way of support for that contention, we refer you to just one market study, out of a number, examining such mineral fillers, via:

http://www.acmite.com/brochure/Brochure-Inorganic-Filler-Market-Report.pdf; which should take you to:

"World Inorganic Filler Market; Acmite Market Intelligence; October 2009
Table of Contents; Volume I:
1. Definition and segmentation……………………………………………………...1
2.1 Trends in the world economy…………………………………………………….9
2.2 The chemical industry…………………………………………………………….12
2.3 Industry concentration…………………………………………………………….16
2.4 Laws and Regulations…………………………………………………………….19
3 Overview of inorganic filler market………………………………………..…...22
3.1 Market data………………………………………………………………………...22
3.1.1 Inorganic filler market by product category…………………………………..22
3.1.2 Inorganic filler market by application………………….………………………26
3.1.3 Inorganic filler demand by region……………………………………………...30
3.1.4 Inorganic filler production by region…………………………………………..34
4 Products………………………………………..……………………………………73
4.1.3 PCC market size and forecast…………………………………………………86
4.1.3.1 PCC market by application…………………………………………………..88
4.1.3.2 PCC market by region………………………………………………………..89
4.1.4 Market trends and competition………………………………………………...91
4.2 Silica………………………………………………………………………………..92
4.3 Kaolin……………………………………………………………………………..109
4.4. Talc.......................................……………………………………………….118
4.5.1 Market of other silicate based filler s…………………………………………129
4.5.2 Mica…………………………………………………………………………….131
4.5.3 Wollastonite……………………………………………………………………135
4.7 Antimony trioxide………………………………………………………………..150
4.9 Nanofiller ………………………………………………………………………….158
5. Filler market by application…………………………………...……………….165
5.1 Paper……………………………………………………………………………...165
5.2 Thermoplastics and thermosets………………………………………………..175
5.3 Paints & coatings………………………………………………………………...183
5.4 Rubber…………………………………………………………………………….194
5.5 Adhesives and sealants…………………………………………………………201."

----------------------

The total potential market for mineral fillers, such as Coal Ash, in various polymers is, plainly, vast.

Mineral fillers are used in everything from your plastic garbage can to the padded dashboard on your car.

And, based on the work by Southern Illinois University, as reported herein to WVU, Coal Fly Ash can be made suitable for use, perhaps even property-enhancing and quality-improving use, in all, or nearly all, of those filled plastic applications.

Far past time we Coal Country hillbillies got a haircut, polished our shoes, put on a salesman's suit, and started knocking on doors with our Coal Ash sample bag, ain't it?

Treating our Coal Ash as what it truly is, a valuable raw material resource, and actively promoting it as such, just might, in addition to "sparing millions of trees annually", actually spare, or even create, a few Coal Country jobs, as well.



West Virginia Coal Association - PO Box 3923 - Charleston, WV 25339 | 304-342-4153 | website developed by brickswithoutstraw