The recycling of three different fly ashes obtained from the coal fired thermal power plants has been studied. Coal fly ashes were vitrified by melting them at 1773 K for 5 h without any additives. After the glass production, glass samples were subjected to a heat treatment process to be able to see whether or not the glasses could be transformed into a microcrystalline structured materials. Produced glass samples were heated to 1423 K and held at this temperature for 2 h to determine the effect of heat treatment process on the properties of glasses. The properties of glass and the heat treated glass samples produced from coal fly ash were investigated by means of differential thermal analysis (DTA), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques. DTA study indicated that there were only inflection points of the endothermic peaks in the DTA curves of the glass samples. XRD analysis showed the amorphous state of the glass samples and also the presence of only the diopside phase in the heat-treated glass samples. SEM investigations revealed that small amount of crystallites occurred in the microstructure of the heat treated glass samples in contrast to the amorphous structure of the glass samples. The mechanical, physical and chemical properties of the heat-treated glass samples are found better than those of the glass samples. Toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) results showed that the heavy metals of fly ashes were successfully immobilized into both glass and heat treated glass samples. It can be said that glass and heat treated glass samples obtained by the recycling of coal fly ash can be taken as a non-hazardous material. Overall, results indicated that the vitrification technique is an effective way for the stabilization and recycling of coal fly ash. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.