Silicate slag from the Victor Chemical Company phosphorus furnace at Tarpon Springs, Fla., has been found to consist essentially of pseudowollastonite, α-CaSiO3. The first-formed crystals are euhedral laths which form a mesh making up most of the slag. As the slag continues to solidify, its composition changes slightly and more equant, subhedral crystals of pseudowollastonite are deposited within the framework of the earlier material. Finally, anherdral masses of fibrous, poorly crystallized material are deposited in the remaining pore spaces which are not always completely filled. Spherules of iron phosphide, Fe2P, occur very sparsely in the slag as inclusions from the immiscible iron phosphide melt. Uranium content increases in the later crystal products of the slag, and by heavy-liquid fractionation it has been possible to segregate partially the phases and to obtain a fourfold concentration of uranium in 5 percent of the material and a twofold concentration in 30 percent of the material. Nuclear-emulsion studies indicate that the last phases of the silicate slag are actually eight times as radioactive as the early phases. In addition, the iron phosphide spherules are comparably enriches in uranium.
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Uranium distribution in pseudowollastonite slag from a phosphorus furnace