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Phosphogypsum purification for plaster production: A process optimization using full factorial design
Raida Moalla1, Manel Gargouri2, Foued Khmiri3, Lotfi Kamoun3, and Moncef Zairi1
1Laboratory 3E, Sfax National School of Engineers, PB 1173, 3038, University of Sfax, Tunisia
2National Agency for Promotion of Scientific Research, 1002 Lafayette, Tunisia
3Tunisian Chemical Group Research Directorate, DRU Sfax -3000 Sfax, Tunisia
Corresponding Author: Moncef Zairi ,Tel: +216-74-274-088 , Fax: +216-74-275-595, Email: moncef.zairi@enis.rnu.tn
Received: May 4, 2017;  Accepted: July 18, 2017.
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The phosphogypsum (PG) is a byproduct of the phosphate fertilizers manufacture. The world production estimated to 200 million tons per year induces environmental threats and storage problems, which requires strict policies to limit pollution and encourage its valorization. This paper presents a purification process of the crude PG including treatment with a diluted sulfuric acid, floatation, filtration and washing. The purified PG is used to produce plaster. The process optimization was conducted using a full factorial design. The significant factors considered in the experimental study are temperature (X1), volume of sulfuric acid solution (X2) and PG quantity (X3). The main effects and interaction effects of these factors on the responses of the % P2O5, %F, Total Organic Carbon (TOC) (mg.kg-1) and pH were analyzed. The optimum conditions for X1, X2 and X3 were found to be 60°C, 3 L and 1 kg, respectively and the optimized pH values was found to be 6.2. Under these conditions, 60% of P2O5, 95% of Fluorine and 98% of TOC were removed from PG. The predicted values were found approximately the same as the experimental ones. The plaster produced with purified PG was found to have similar properties to that produced from natural gypsum.
Keywords: Factorial design | Impurities | Optimization | Phosphogypsum | Purification
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