Fracture properties of geopolymer paste and concrete
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Geopolymers are an emerging type of cementitious material purported to provide an environmentally friendly alternative to Portland cement-based concrete. This paper reports the results of experimental research on fracture properties (fracture energy and brittleness) of fly ash based geopolymer concrete and paste with various mix parameters. The characteristic length of the geopolymer concrete was approximately three times less than that of ordinary Portland cement (OPC) concrete, due to an increase in tensile splitting strength of about 28%, a decrease in elastic modulus of about 22% and a decrease in fracture energy of about 24%. The difference in characteristic length is similar to that reported between high-strength and normal-strength OPC concretes, indicating that the geopolymer concrete exhibits higher brittleness than its OPC counterpart. This trend was found to be consistent between pastes and concretes, implying that the difference between geopolymer and OPC concrete is due to the type of matrix formation (geopolymerisation or hydration). For geopolymer concretes made with different mix parameters, fracture properties are closely correlated to their compressive strength.
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