Effects of slag substitution on physical and mechanical properties of fly ash-based alkali activated binders (AABs)

A. M Rafeet, Raffaele Vinai, Marios Soutsos, Wei Sha

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Neat fly ash-based alkali activated binders require high activator dosages and high temperature curing in order to develop satisfactory mechanical properties. Blending ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) with fly ash can give medium to high strengths without the need for high temperature oven curing. An extensive investigation was carried out for understanding the effects of GGBS substitution of fly ash in mortar. GGBS substitution in the mix has an impact on mix proportions, fresh and hardened properties, and microstructure of reaction products. The strength of fly ash/GGBS blends cured at room temperature increased with the increase of GGBS content, whilst setting time showed an opposite trend. Fly ash/GGBS blends required lower activator dosages for obtaining high compressive strength, which has cost and environmental benefits. XRD, FTIR, TGA, and SEM/EDX results confirmed the presence of C-A-S-H gel as a reaction product with as low as 20% GGBS content.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-135
Number of pages18
JournalCement and Concrete Research
Early online date14 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2019



  • alkali activated cement
  • microstructure
  • mixture proportioning
  • fly ash
  • granulated blast-furnace slag

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