Thermal treatment of alkaline and alkaline earth metal sulphates on a graphite platform was performed over the temperature range 200–2000 °C. The solid residues produced at each temperature were located by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and then identified by energy-dispersive (ED) X-ray spectroscopy and Raman microanalysis. Additional experiments involved the dissolution of the residues from the platform and analysis by ion chromatography to determine the concentration of sulphate and other ions. A decomposition pattern was derived for the alkaline and alkaline earth metal sulphates. The transformation of the metal sulphates was dependent on temperature and the cation present. In general, the metal sulphates do not undergo significant decomposition to other species at temperatures less than 900 °C, with the exception of magnesium and beryllium sulphates, which are transformed into metal oxides to some extent. Above 900 °C, major transformations occur mainly for sodium, magnesium, and beryllium sulphates. For all the salts studied, there is evidence of the formation of species such as metal sulphides and elemental sulphur.
- electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry
- platform vaporization
- sulphates salt decomposition
- scanning electron microscopy