Analysis of Strength and Microstructural Characteristics of Mine Backfills Containing Fly Ash and Desulfurized Gypsum

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Huang Z., Yılmaz E., Cao S.

MINERALS, vol.11, no.4, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/min11040409
  • Journal Name: MINERALS
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ABI/INFORM, Aerospace Database, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, INSPEC, Metadex, Directory of Open Access Journals, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: solid waste, sustainable waste management, strength characteristics, microstructural analysis, backfilling materials
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


The utilization of solid wastes (SWs) as a potential resource for backfilling is not only conducive to environmental protection but also reduces the surface storage of waste. Two types of SWs, including fly ash (FA) and desulfurized gypsum (DG), were used to prepare cementitious backfilling materials for underground mined-out areas. Ordinary Portland cement (OPC) was used as cement in mine backfill. To better investigate the feasibility of preparing backfill materials, some laboratory tests, such as uniaxial compressive strength (UCS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and energy dissipation theory, were conducted to explore both strength and microstructural properties of backfilling. Results have demonstrated that the main components of FA and DG in this study are oxides, with few toxic and heavy metal components. The ideal ratio of OPC:FA:DG is 1:6:2 and the corresponding UCS values are 2.5 and 4.2 MPa when the curing time are 7 days and 14 days, respectively. Moreover, the average UCS value of backfilling samples gradually decreased when the proportion of DG in the mixture increased. The main failure modes of various backfilling materials are tensile and shearing cracks. In addition, the corresponding relations among total input energy, dissipated energy and strain energy, and stress-strain curve were investigated. The spatial distribution of oxygen, aluminum, silicon, calcium, iron and magnesium elements, and hydration product are explored from the microstructure's perspective. The findings of this study provide both invaluable information and industrial applications for the efficient management of solid waste, based on sustainable development and circular economy.