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Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 46, Issue 16, pp 5477–5486 | Cite as

Mechanical and thermal characterisation of geopolymers based on silicate-activated metakaolin/slag blends

  • Susan A. BernalEmail author
  • Erich D. Rodríguez
  • Ruby Mejía de Gutiérrez
  • Marisol Gordillo
  • John L. ProvisEmail author
Article

Abstract

This article assesses the effect of mix design parameters on the compressive strength and thermal performance of alkali silicate-activated blends of metakaolin (MK) and granulated blast furnace slag (GBFS). A strong interrelationship between the effects of activator composition and the GBFS/(GBFS + MK) ratio is identified through statistical analysis of compressive strength data. Pastes formulated with higher SiO2/Al2O3 molar ratios show improvements in mechanical strength with increasing GBFS addition, associated with the formation of a structure comprising coexisting aluminosilicate ‘geopolymer’ gel and Ca-rich Al-substituted silicate hydrate (C-(A)-S-H) reaction products. The inclusion of GBFS in MK-based geopolymers seems also to improve their performance when exposed to high temperatures, as higher residual compressive strengths are reported for these mixtures compared to solely MK-based systems. Only slight differences in shrinkage behaviour are observed at temperatures of up to 600 °C with the inclusion of GBFS; however, slag-blended pastes exhibit enhanced stability at temperatures exceeding 800 °C, as no variation in the compressive strength and no additional shrinkage are identified. These results suggest that nanostructural modifications are induced in the gel by the inclusion of GBFS into MK-based geopolymers, improving the overall performance of these materials.

Keywords

Compressive Strength Geopolymer Calcium Silicate Hydrate High Compressive Strength Autogenous Shrinkage 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was sponsored by Universidad del Valle (Colombia), Instituto Colombiano para el Desarrollo de la Ciencia y Tecnología “Francisco José de Caldas” (COLCIENCIAS) and the Center of Excellence of Novel Materials (CENM). The participation of JLP was funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), including partial funding through the Particulate Fluids Processing Centre, a Special Research Centre of the ARC.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan A. Bernal
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Erich D. Rodríguez
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ruby Mejía de Gutiérrez
    • 1
  • Marisol Gordillo
    • 1
  • John L. Provis
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Materials Engineering Department, Composite Materials Group, CENMUniversidad del ValleCaliColombia
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringUniversity of MelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología del HormigónUniversitat Politècnica de ValènciaValenciaSpain

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