Physico-mechanical evaluation of geopolymer concrete activated by sodium hydroxide and silica fume-synthesised sodium silicate solution

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Abstract

Commercial sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and sodium silicate (SS) have remained two of the leading alkaline activators widely used in producing geopolymer concrete, despite some identified negatives regarding their availability and additional CO2 emissions relating to the overall manufacturing process. This study reports the viability of developing geopolymer concrete using a laboratory-synthesised silica fume (SF)-derived SS solution in combination with NaOH at a molarity of 10M as an alternative binary alkali-alkaline activator to Ground Granulated Blast Furnace slag (GGBS). The use of SF in the development of geoolymer activators will pave the way for the quality usage of other high-silica content by-products from nature, industry, and agriculture. In the currently reported proof of concept, four geopolymer concrete batches were produced using different alkaline activator/precursor-A/P ratios (0.5 and 0.9) and SS to NaOH-SS/SH volume ratios (0.8/1.2 and 1.2/0.8), to establish the impact on the engineering performance. Two controls were adopted for ordinary and geopolymer concrete mixes. The engineering performance was assessed using slump and compaction index (CI) tests, while the Unconfined Compressive Strength (UCS) and tensile splitting (TS) tests were measured at different curing ages in accordance with their appropriate standards. The results indicated a reduction in slump values as the A/P ratio decreased, while the CI values showed a reversal of the identified trend in slump. Consequently, mix GC2 attained the highest UCS strength gain (62.6 MPa), displaying the superiority of the alkali activation and polymerisation process over the CSH gel. Furthermore, the impact of A/P variation on the UCS was more pronounced than SS/SH due to its vital contribution to the overall geopolymerisation process.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2400
Number of pages15
JournalMaterials
Volume16
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • alkali-alkaline activator
  • GGBS
  • Silica fume
  • consistency
  • compressive strength
  • Tensile splitting strength
  • Aluminosilicate
  • Geopolymer

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