Interfacial chemistry of a fly ash geopolymer and aggregates

Published on Sep 10, 2019in Journal of Cleaner Production7.246
· DOI :10.1016/J.JCLEPRO.2019.05.249
Ailar Hajimohammadi20
Estimated H-index: 20
(UNSW: University of New South Wales),
Tuan Ngo48
Estimated H-index: 48
(University of Melbourne),
Jitraporn Vongsvivut23
Estimated H-index: 23
(Australian Synchrotron)
Abstract The environmental and accessibility concerns associated with the increasing use of river sand in construction have diverted the attention of scientists to alternative materials. Waste glass has been widely investigated as a replacement for sand in geopolymer concretes, and the chemical and mechanical properties of the resulting materials are investigated. Since glass is rich in amorphous silica, it is believed that the surface of glass aggregates can take part in the reaction and make a stronger geopolymer matrix compared to that of sand aggregates. An improvement of 30% in compressive strength was obtained by replacing sand aggregates with glass aggregates. While the mechanical properties support interfacial reaction with glass aggregates, the nature of the chemical bonding structure at the interface has not been revealed. In this research, synchrotron Fourier transform infrared (SR-FTIR) microspectroscopy has been used for the first time to map the distribution of the chemical bonding structures at the geopolymer interface with aggregates. While in-situ FTIR shows the development of geopolymer gel over time, SR-FTIR results show clear differences in gel chemistry around the glass compared to the sand. The study reveals that there is a relatively higher degree of silica-rich gels close to the sand aggregates and a higher extent of geopolymeric gels around glass aggregates. The alkaline content of glass makes the area surrounding the glass aggregates more suitable for maintaining monomeric silica. These small silica species help to develop a higher degree of geopolymer networks in the vicinity of the glass aggregates compared to the sand. This level of visibility is very useful for understanding the behaviour of geopolymer concretes, which is critically important for nano-engineering of materials towards a desirable distribution of the binding gels.
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