Optimising ambient setting Bayer derived fly ash geopolymers
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The Bayer process utilises high concentrations of caustic and elevated temperature to liberate alumina from bauxite, for the production of aluminium and other chemicals. Within Australia, this process results in 40 million tonnes of mineral residues (Red mud) each year. Over the same period, the energy production sector will produce 14 million tonnes of coal combustion products (Fly ash). Both industrial residues require impoundment storage, yet combining some of these components can produce geopolymers, an alternative to cement. Geopolymers derived from Bayer liquor and fly ash have been made successfully with a compressive strength in excess of 40 MPa after oven curing. However, any product from these industries would require large volume applications with robust operational conditions to maximise utilisation. To facilitate potential unconfined large-scale production, Bayer derived fly ash geopolymers have been optimised to achieve ambient curing. Fly ash from two different power stations have been successfully trialled showing the versatility of the Bayer liquor-ash combination for making geopolymers.
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