Celestite in the Weathering Crust on Limestone Exposed to an Urban Atmosphere in Cracow (Poland)
Celestite containing very low amounts of barium occurs in weathering reaction zones developed on the Pińczów limestone exposed to the polluted atmosphere of Cracow. The mineral occurs both in limestone pore spaces filled with gypsum and in black gypsum crust. The Pińczów limestone contains ca 500 ppm strontium which was released during the reaction with atmospheric pollutants. The nucleation and growth of celestite, requiring significant concentration of components in evaporating solutions, is associated with gypsum crystallization.
Ash samples from biomass combustion or co-combustion with coal were analysed. The aim of this study of ash was to determine its mineral and chemical composition, and the chemical composition of solutions obtained during one-step water extraction. Besides the chemical analysis, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM-EDS) were applied.
The mineral and chemical composition of ash samples differ strongly. The content of heavy metals in the ash is generally low, but in some samples the limits of the content of some elements determined for fertilizers or soil amendments are exceeded. The relatively poor correlation between the concentration in leachate and bulk content in ash indicates that numerous elements are present in different forms in the studied samples. The results indicate that the potential use of biomass ash, or ash from biomass–coal co-combustion, requires complex studies that explore ash and leachates.
During single particle analysis of aerosol in Kraków (Poland) we noticed a new component, that is, aggregates of TiO2 particles. These aggregates are from 0.5 to 4 μm and are composed of individual particles whose size typically varies from between 100 and 350 nm. Smaller particles (below 100 nm) also occur. TiO2 particles are relatively abundant in the summer. The size distribution of the particles corresponds to “pigmentary” TiO2, which indicates that they could be derived from paints and building materials. TiO2 particles were not previously identified in aerosol samples in Kraków, and therefore this phenomenon is likely to be related to the common usage of new building materials and paints. A review of the literature suggests that TiO2 particles, especially within the nanosize range, could result in health and environmental impacts; however, evaluation of the actual threat is difficult.