Effect of nano-clay on mechanical and thermal properties of geopolymer
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The effect of nano-clay platelets (Cloisite 30B) on the mechanical and thermal properties of fly ash geopolymer has been investigated in this paper. The nano-clay platelets are added to reinforce the geopolymer at loadings of 1.0%, 2.0%, and 3.0% by weight. The phase composition and microstructure of geopolymer nano-composites are also investigated using X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and scanning electron microscope (SEM) techniques. Results show that the mechanical properties of geopolymer nano-composites are improved due to addition of nano-clay. It is found that the addition of 2.0 wt% nano-clay decreases the porosity and increases the nano-composite's resistance to water absorption significantly. The optimum 2.0 wt% nano-clay addition exhibited the highest flexural and compressive strengths, flexural modulus and hardness. The microstructural analysis results indicate that the nano-clay behaves not only as a filler to improve the microstructure, but also as an activator to facilitate the geopolymeric reaction. The geopolymer nano-composite also exhibited better thermal stability than its counterpart pure geopolymer.
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