Synthesis of heat and ambient cured one-part geopolymer mixes with different grades of sodium silicate
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The use of solid activators in the manufacture of geopolymer enhances its commercial viability as it aids the development of a one-part “just add water” geopolymer mixture, similar to the conventional Portland cement-based materials. This study is aimed to synthesize heat and ambient cured one-part geopolymer mixes. Appropriate combinations of low calcium (Class F) fly ash, slag and hydrated lime as the aluminosilicate source materials were activated by three different grades of sodium silicate and a combination of sodium silicate and sodium hydroxide powders. A conventional two-part geopolymer mix with the commonly used sodium hydroxide and sodium silicate solutions was also made for comparison. Effects of the type and amount of the solid activator, the amount of fly ash replacement with slag and hydrated lime and water content on short term mechanical properties of the heat cured one-part geopolymer mixtures including workability of the fresh mix, hardened density and compressive strength were evaluated. Subsequently, effects of ambient curing on the properties of the developed one-part geopolymer mixes were also investigated. Moderate to high compressive strength of over 37 MPa developed for the heat and ambient cured one-part geopolymer mixes. The 28-days compressive strengths of the ambient cured one-part geopolymer mixtures, regardless of the type of activator and geopolymer source materials, were comparable to those of the counterpart heat cured one-part geopolymer mixes. Such one-part geopolymer mixes could enhance the commercial viability and large-scale applications of the geopolymer in the construction industry.
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