The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers




Vitrification is the transformation of a substance into a glass. This is usually achieved by heating to high temperature and rapid cooling. In geoenvironmental engineering, soil vitrification is a method that embeds the waste into a glassy matrix so that hazardous waste will not leak out. It requires high temperature to melt the soil. The melted soil is then refrozen into glass-like solid. The contaminants are incorporated into the waste glass either through chemical bonding or through encapsulation (USEPA, 1992a). Glass-forming additives are usually added to form the glassy matrix. Since the glass-like solid is chemically inert and has low leaching characteristics, it has superb performance in isolating the waste from the environment. Therefore, soil vitrification is a method that has been widely used to treat hazardous and radioactive waste. Soil vitrification is also effective for organic waste because the high temperature will make organics inactivated.  


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