Preparation, structure and hydrothermal stability of alternative (sodium silicate-free) geopolymers
In this contribution, we present the preparation and structural characterization of a new type of alternative (sodium silicate-free) geopolymer system. A new procedure of geopolymer synthesis based on the preparation of a reactive geopolymer precursor by direct calcinations of low-quality kaolin with Na/K hydroxides is introduced. The subsequent formation of geopolymer matrix does not require activation by alkaline silicate solution. The compact and hardened material was prepared only by adding a small amount of water. Besides the introduction of a new synthetic procedure, we focused also on the systematic study of chemical structure, mineralogical composition and hydrothermal stability of the prepared geopolymer systems as seen by solid-state NMR spectroscopy and powder X-ray diffraction (XRD). An important part of our contribution is the demonstration of structural and mineralogical changes induced by hydrothermal treatment and long-term aging of the prepared geopolymers. It was found that redistribution of basic structural units (SiO 4 4− and AlO 4 5− ) and gradual formation of zeolite fractions can be related to the observed changes in mechanical properties. Up to a certain level, the presence of zeolites enhances the mechanical properties of the prepared geopolymer systems. However, the additional formation of a new generation of zeolite fractions, occurring over the long-term period causes an inversion of this trend and a dramatic reduction of mechanical strength. Nevertheless, formation of the geopolymer matrix by alkaline and thermal activation of low-quality kaolin has the potential to be used in ecological problems solving (solidification of powdered and dangerous waste materials).
KeywordsZeolite Geopolymer Metakaolinite Geopolymer Matrix Geopolymer Material
We thank the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for financial support (grant No. 2B06120).
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