Synthesis and Characterization of Silica from Awash Melkaasa Chemical Factory Waste

  • Robel Mehari Tesfaye Adama Science and Technology University
  • Fana Teklemariam Adama Science and Technology University
  • Hailemariam Aweke
  • Hailemariam Gebregwergis
Keywords: : Awash Melkassa Chemical Factory Silica Kaolin Chemical Factory Waste


Silica is a common name for the chemical compound silicon dioxide. It can be found naturally in abundant amount as sand and is a raw material for many useful chemicals like silicone and silicates. It can be also found as a by-product from several chemical factories. Awash melkassa is one of the factories that releases this silica as a waste product. In this work, this waste, that has a silica content of more than 65%, was used as a raw material for synthesis of purified silica. Here the silica was prepared by two distinct routes: basic and acidic routes. In basic route, the chemical factory waste have been leached with caustic soda to prepare sodium silicate followed by reducing the silicate with an organic acid to prepare purified silica then finally size reduction by ball milling. In the second method, inorganic acids such as sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid have been used to remove the impurities from the chemical factory waste and ball milling the purified silica to obtain the micro particles. Characterization of the final products was done by SEM and XRD. Finally the best process for silica synthesis have been decided based on which process yields the higher silica content product which is the acidic routine.


[1] Isiaka Olajide Odewale, Lawrence Olusegu Ajala and Daniel T. Tse “CHARACTERIZATON OF UNWANA BEACH SILICA SAND AND ITS INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS,” vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 93–100, 2013.
[2] B. Woronko, “Frost weathering versus glacial grinding in the micromorphology of quartz sand grains: Processes and geological implications,” Sediment. Geol., vol. 335, 2016, doi: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2016.01.021.
[3] N. R. Radhip, N. Pradeep, and A. A. M, “Synthesis of Silica Nanoparticles from Malpe Beach Sand using Planetary Ball Mill Method,” J. Pure Appl. Ind. Phys., vol. 5, no. June, pp. 165–172, 2015.
[4] R. P. Thio, D. K. Konan, B. K. Koffi, and A. K. Yao, “Characterization of raw silica sand from the Ivorian sedimentary basin for silica glass making,” vol. 2508, no. 12, pp. 2016–2024, 2020.
[5] V. Vaibhav, U. Vijayalakshmi, and S. M. Roopan, “Agricultural waste as a source for the production of silica nanoparticles,” Spectrochim. Acta - Part A Mol. Biomol. Spectrosc., vol. 139, pp. 515–520, 2015, doi: 10.1016/j.saa.2014.12.083.
[6] A. Espíndola-Gonzalez, A. L. Martínez-Hernández, C. Angeles-Chávez, V. M. Castaño, and C. Velasco-Santos, “Novel crystalline SiO 2 nanoparticles via annelids bioprocessing of agro-industrial wastes,” Nanoscale Res. Lett., vol. 5, no. 9, pp. 1408–1417, 2010, doi: 10.1007/s11671-010-9654-6.
[7] R. R. Zaky, M. M. Hessien, A. A. El-Midany, M. H. Khedr, E. A. Abdel-Aal, and K. A. El-Barawy, “Preparation of silica nanoparticles from semi-burned rice straw ash,” Powder Technol., vol. 185, no. 1, pp. 31–35, 2008, doi:
[8] A. Moosa, A. A. Moosa, and F. Saddam, “Synthesis and Characterization of Nanosilica from Rice Husk with Applications to Polymer Composites Green synthesis of nanoparticles View project Exfoliated Graphite View project Synthesis and Characterization of Nanosilica from Rice Husk with Application,” Am. J. Mater. Sci., vol. 2017, no. 6, pp. 223–231, 2017, doi: 10.5923/j.materials.20170706.01.
[9] M. Tadesse, E. Amare, H. C. A. Murthy, and E. Bekele, “Extraction and Characterization of Bio-Silica from Sugar Cane Bagasse Ash of Wonji Sugar Industry, Ethiopia,” Int. J. Res. Anal. Rev., no. September, 2019, [Online]. Available:
[10] M. F. Anuar, Y. W. Fen, M. H. M. Zaid, K. A. Matori, and R. E. M. Khaidir, “Synthesis and structural properties of coconut husk as potential silica source,” Results Phys., vol. 11, 2018, doi: 10.1016/j.rinp.2018.08.018.
[11] E. A. Okoronkwo, P. E. Imoisili, S. A. Olubayode, and S. O. O. Olusunle, “Development of Silica Nanoparticle from Corn Cob Ash,” Adv. Nanoparticles, vol. 05, no. 02, 2016, doi: 10.4236/anp.2016.52015.
[12] J. R. Fleming, D. Kemkes, R. G. Chatten, L. E. Creshaw, and J. F. Imbalzano, “Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Processing : Moving into the 21st Century,” DuPont Fluoroproducts, pp. 1–10.
[13] M. R. Kasaai, “Nanosized particles of silica and its derivatives for applications in various branches of food and nutrition sectors,” Journal of Nanotechnology, vol. 2015. 2015, doi: 10.1155/2015/852394.
[14] A. Bahari, A. Sadeghi-Nik, A. Sadeghi Nik, and A. Sadeghi Nik, “Investigation of nano structural properties of cement-based materials,” Am. J. Sci. Res., vol. 25, 2011.
[15] J. Singh, R. Boddula, and H. Digambar Jirimali, “Utilization of secondary agricultural products for the preparation of value added silica materials and their important applications: a review,” J. Sol-Gel Sci. Technol., vol. 96, no. 1, pp. 15–33, 2020, doi: 10.1007/s10971-020-05353-5.
How to Cite
Mehari Tesfaye, R., Teklemariam, F., Aweke, H., & Gebregwergis, H. (2022). Synthesis and Characterization of Silica from Awash Melkaasa Chemical Factory Waste. Ethiopian Journal of Science and Sustainable Development, 9(2), 62-67.