Characterization and Early Age Physical Properties of Ambient Cured Geopolymer Mortar Based on Class C Fly Ash
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The critical element for sustainable growth in the construction industry is the development of alternative cements. A new technological process called geopolymerization provides an innovative solution, and the presence of aluminum and silicon oxides in fly ash has encouraged its use as a source material. Many previous investigations have involved curing the binder in a heated environment. To reduce energy consumption during the synthesis of geopolymers, the present study investigated the properties of ambient cured geopolymer mortar at early ages. An experimental program was executed to establish a relationship between the activator composition and the properties of geopolymer mortar in fresh and hardened states. Concentrations of sodium hydroxide and sodium silicate were ascertained that are advantageous for constructability and mechanical behavior. Scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction techniques were also used to characterize the material. Test results indicate that there is potential for the concrete industry to use fly ash based geopolymer as an alternative to portland cement.