Several factors affecting the reactivity of pulverised fuel ash (pfa) as a precursor for geopolymer concrete have been investigated. These include physical and chemical properties of various pfa sources, inclusion of ground granulated blast furnace slag (ggbs), chemical activator dosages and curing temperature. Alkali-activated pfa was found to require elevated curing temperatures and high alkali concentrations. A mixture of sodium hydroxide and sodium silicate was used and this was shown to result in high strengths, as high as 70 MPa at 28-days. The presence of silicates in solution was found to be a key factor. Detailed physical and chemical characterisation was carried out on thirteen pfa sources from the UK. The most important factor affecting the reactivity was found to be the particle size of pfa. The loss on ignition (LOI) and the amorphous content are also important parameters that need to be considered for the selection of pfa for use in geopolymer concrete. The partial replacement of pfa by ground granulated blast furnace slag (ggbs) was found to be beneficial in not only avoiding the need for elevated curing temperatures but also in improving compressive strengths. Microstructural characterisation with scanning electron microscope (SEM) coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) was performed on pfa/ggbs pastes. The reaction product of pfa and ggbs in these binary systems was calcium aluminium silicate hydrate gel (C-A-S-H) with inclusion of Na in the structure.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Construction and Building Materials|
|Early online date||22 Feb 2016|
|Publication status||Published - 01 May 2016|
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