As they are unconventional materials, foundry solid waste lacks documented procedures qualifying its substitution for conventional materials, which is a primary barrier in the reuse program. Necessary procedures therefore include evaluation tests, assessment procedures, and criteria to address the technical performance and characteristics that a functional material shall present. A procedural framework needs to be outlined with which one can decide if a waste or byproduct material can be used fully or partially in replacing a conventional material.
There are seven major steps, as shown in Figure 4.8, in an unconventional material technical evaluation process that should be considered:
1. Address key issues. Identify all relevant engineering, environmental, occupational health and safety, recyclability, and economic issues that will arise when assessing the use of unconventional materials in functional products. Efforts should be concentrated on compiling and assessing existing data, which include previous laboratory testing, field demonstrations, and the performance history from previous projects that have made use of the proposed material in the proposed application. Incorporating existing data into this process can be of great assistance in the task of defining all relevant technical issues and avoiding any unnecessary duplication of prior efforts.
2. Establish tests and criteria. Establish laboratory testing and assessment procedures and criteria that the material and the product should meet prior to accepting solid waste incorporation. Although at the present time, there is an absence of generally accepted test methods and criteria to address all of the proposed key issues, solid waste has generally undergone significant laboratory and field demonstration testing, by referring to suitable specifications, to ensure an equivalent or better performance criteria defined so that the material and application is met. In some cases, such as blast furnace slag, formal specifications have eventually been developed.
3. Performance tests. This step is to implement testing and assessment procedures, at a bench-scale, to determine whether the material will meet the criteria established.
4. Modify material or product. If a material is not capable of meeting established material or product criteria, it is useful to consider whether additional or alternative material processing or product modification could achieve the desired results.
5. Implementation factors. There are always some nontechnical issues that could prevent widespread implementation of the unconventional materials. These nontechnical issues involve institutional acceptability, political acceptability, and public acceptability.
6. Field demonstration. A field demonstration is always necessary to supplement a bench-scale evaluation, as some technical issues cannot be undertaken in a laboratory environment. In addition, field data help address nontechnical issues. Proper planning is critical for the implementation of a successful demonstration to ensure that all monitoring equipment, construction, and quality control procedures are in place.
7. Final decision. The ability to arrive at a final decision regarding the acceptability of a material for use will depend on the degree to which each of the aforementioned steps were planned and implemented. The establishment of a stepwise framework with specific objectives, procedures, and criteria is critical to implementing an evaluation approach that will address all necessary issues.
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