Sulfate and acid resistance of lithomarge-based geopolymer mortars

Jacek Kwasny, Timothy A. Aiken, Marios N. Soutsos, John A. McIntosh, David J. Cleland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
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The resistance of room temperature cured geopolymer mortars (GPM) against chemical attacks, i.e. sodium and magnesium sulfate solutions, and sulfuric and hydrochloric acid solutions, was evaluated. GPMs were formulated using a lithomarge precursor (low-purity kaolin) to achieve 28-day characteristic compressive strengths of 37.5 and 60 MPa. Their performance was compared with those of equivalent Portland cement mortars (PCMs) having the same paste volume and strength grade. GPMs with both strength grades showed superior performance against sulfate attack when compared to PCMs. No visual deterioration was observed in GPMs, the mass and length changes were relatively small, and no changes to the microstructure were detected – in contrast to severely deteriorated PCMs. As confirmed by visual observations and lower mass loss, GPMs showed better resistance to attack by both acids than PCMs. GPMs provided a better quality (lower permeability) of an acid-degraded layer, lowering the degree of further deterioration. The main mechanisms of the matrix deterioration of GPMs in both acids was dealumination of the hardened binder, with a higher degree of changes detected for sulfuric acid.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-553
Number of pages17
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Early online date22 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2018


  • Lithomarge
  • Geopolymer mortars
  • Portland cement mortars
  • Durability
  • Sulfate attack
  • Sodium sulfate
  • Magnesium sulfate
  • Acid attack
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Hydrochloric acid


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