Special Issue "Environmentally Friendly Geopolymer Composites"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2017

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Raffaele Cioffi

INSTM Research Group Napoli Parthenope, Centro Direzionale Napoli, Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Università di Napoli ‘Parthenope’, Isola C4, Napoli 80143, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental chemistry, environmental safety, environmental engineering and policy, waste management, waste stabilization and solidification, waste recycling, hazardous waste, soil heavy metal pollution assessment, contaminated sediments, natural resource management, construction and demolition wastes, life cycle analysis
Guest Editor
Dr. Claudio Ferone

Department of Engineering, University of Naples "Parthenope", Centro Direzionale, Is. C4, Napoli 80143, Italy
Interests: geopolymers; alkali-activated materials; sustainibility; waste recycling; advanced ceramics
Guest Editor
Dr. Francesco Messina

INSTM Research Group Napoli Parthenope, Centro Direzionale Napoli, Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Università di Napoli ‘Parthenope’, Isola C4, Napoli 80143, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: geopolymers; waste stabilization and solidification; construction and demolition wastes; durability assessment; rheology
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Giuseppina Roviello

INSTM Research Group Napoli Parthenope, Centro Direzionale Napoli, Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Università di Napoli ‘Parthenope’, Isola C4, Napoli 80143, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: green chemistry; coordination chemistry; polymer chemistry; geopolymers; composites and hybrid materials; structural characterization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Alkali-activated materials, and geopolymers in particular, represent one of the most interesting classes of innovative binders. Geopolymers are considered environmentally friendly materials, since their use in concrete applications could significantly reduce CO2 emissions thanks to the “low carbon” footprint of several raw materials with a high concentration of aluminosilicates from which they can be prepared, i.e., dehydroxylated kaolinite (metakaolin, MK) or industrial waste, such as fly ash or blast furnace slag. Within this wide research field, geopolymer composites represent a class of particularly versatile materials, with widely tunable performances, depending on the applications for which they are designed. This Special Issue aims to offer the scientific community a deeper comprehension of the structural, microstructural and physico-mechanical characteristics of geopolymeric mortars, geopolymer-resins composites, geopolymers with additive or reinforcement, for applications both in the construction industry, masonry restoration, waste stabilization, and inertization, but also in advanced chemical applications, such as catalysis or the removal of pollutants.

Prof. Dr. Raffaele Cioffi
Prof. Dr. Claudio Ferone
Prof. Dr. Giuseppina Roviello
Dr. Francesco Messina
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Geopolymer composites
  • alkali-activated materials
  • sustainability

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Geopolymerization Ability of Natural and Secondary Raw Materials by Solubility Test in Alkaline Media
Environments 2017, 4(3), 56; doi:10.3390/environments4030056
Received: 17 July 2017 / Revised: 3 August 2017 / Accepted: 9 August 2017 / Published: 11 August 2017
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The extent of the dissolution of aluminosilicate compounds is crucial, since the amount of Si and Al initially dissolved is essential for the following polycondensation and can strongly influence physical and mechanical performances of the final product. In order to set up a
[...] Read more.
The extent of the dissolution of aluminosilicate compounds is crucial, since the amount of Si and Al initially dissolved is essential for the following polycondensation and can strongly influence physical and mechanical performances of the final product. In order to set up a method to test the ability of a material to react in alkaline media, different aluminosilicate sources have been selected: a mineral resource (a zeolitized tuff), an industrial by product (silt from washing process of construction and demolition wastes), a heat treated clay sediment and a calcined clay (metakaolin). Two test methods, static and dynamic, have been applied to evaluate the attitude of a silicoaluminate precursor to give a geopolymerization reaction. In particular, a fixed amount of precursor was put into contact with a alkaline solution under continuous stirring or in static conditions at 60 °C for fixed times. The dynamic test method seems to be more suitable, since it is faster and requires lower amounts of reactants (solution). Moreover, the dynamic test provides a reactivity sequence (ordered from the more to the less reactive precursor) metakaolin > treated clay sediment > zeolitized tuff ≈ silt both for Si and Al release, which is coherent with the performances of geopolymers obtained by using the above precursors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Friendly Geopolymer Composites)

Figure 1

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Geopolymeric matrices for the stabilization/solidification of industrial wastes and natural residues with a high degree of contamination
Authors: Francesco Messina 1, Anna Simeoni 1, Sabino De Gisi 2,*, Francesco Todaro 2, Claudio Ferone 1, Francesco Colangelo 1, Michele Notarnicola 2 and Raffaele Cioffi 1
Affiliations: 1 Department of Engineering, University of Naples Parthenope, INSTM Research Group Naples Parthenope, Centro Direzionale Is. C4, Naples, Italy; 2 Department of Civil, Environmental, Land, Building Engineering and Chemistry (DICATECh), Technical University of Bari, Via E. Orabona n. 4, 70125 Bari (BA), Italy; Email: sabino.degisi@poliba.it
Abstract: Nowadays, the use of geopolymers in Stabilization/Solidification (S/S) processes for the treatment of different types of waste is a very attractive solution. The geopolymers can be synthesized by the alkaline activation of different solid precursors, mainly amorphous aluminosilicates with moderate content of calcium. Compared to conventional cementitious binders, the geopolymers are characterized by better durability in chemically aggressive environments as well as reduced environmental impacts associated with the generation and synthesis phases. Furthermore, the mix design of geopolymers allows the recovery of substantial quantities of industrial by-products and waste. However, geopolymeric matrices show several problems when they are applied to a very contaminated waste. It is the case of cementitious stabilizing matrices in presence of a considerable content of organic contaminants. These pollutants can generate several problems in the processes of setting and hardening of the cementitious matrix with a consequent lower durability of the final product. With the intent to increase the existing knowledge, the study aims to present the main aspects of interest for the design of geopolymeric mixtures to be applied in S/S processes. In addition, the necessary future developments for an effective marketing of this innovative technology have been discussed.

Type of Paper: Article
Addition of recycled glass to metakaolin based geopolymeric binder: a citotossicity study
Authors: Isabella Lancellotti 1,*, Michelina Catauro 2 and Cristina Leonelli 1
Affiliations: 1 Department of Engineering “Enzo Ferrari”, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via P. Vivarelli n. 10, 41125 Modena, Italy; 2 Department of. Industrial and Information Engineering, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, Aversa, Italy; Email: isabella.lancellotti@unimore.it
Abstract: The average glass recycling rate in 2016 in the EU28 zone has reached the 74% threshold for the first time [1]. This means that over 11.6 million tons were collected throughout the European Union in 2014 or 3.5% more than in the previous year. The majority of that goes back into making new packaging: glass stands alone as the most closed loop recycled food and drink packaging in the EU and in the world. Nevertheless, about 1% of this recycled glass is discarded by the automatic selecting machinery and founds its way to the disposal. In the present project, a geopolymer matrix based on alkali activated metakaolin has been used to blend in fine powder of this waste glass which cannot be directed to glass melting furnaces. Such waste glass present impurities such as lead and barium which are safely incorporated into a geopolymer matrix. The consolidation of the geopolymeric matrix containing the waste glass was followed by pH and conductibility till 28 days of curing. SEM/EDS observations were useful to obtain information on microstructure of the consolidated products. Citotossicity tests indicated complete de-toxification of the waste glass.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Calcium sulphoaluminate, geopolymeric and cementitious mortars for structural applications in comparison
Authors: Alessandra Mobili 1, Chiara Giosuè 1, Alberto Belli 1, Antonio Telesca 2, Milena Marroccoli 2, Francesca Tittarelli 1,3,*
Affiliations: 1 Department of Materials, Environmental Sciences and Urban Planning, Università Politecnica delle Marche, via Brecce Bianche 12, 60131, Ancona, Italy - UdR INSTM; Email: francesca.tittarelli@giustizia.it; 2 School of Engineering, Università degli Studi della Basilicata, Campus di Macchia Romana, Viale dell'Ateneo Lucano 10, 85100, Potenza, Italy; 3 ISAC-CNR, Via Gobetti, 101 40129 Bologna, Italy
Abstract: The work deals with the study of calcium sulphoaluminate (CSA) and geopolymeric (GP) binders as alternatives to ordinary Portland cement (OPC) for the production of more environmentally-friendly construction materials. To this aim, three types of mortars with the same mechanical strength class (R3≥25 MPa, according to EN 1504-3) were tested and compared; they were respectively based on CSA cement, an alkaline activated coal fly ash and OPC. The mortars were first subjected to hydration tests and characterized by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD) and differential thermal–thermogravimetric (DTA-TG) analyses; afterwards they were compared in terms of workability, dynamic modulus of elasticity, adhesion to red clay bricks, free and restrained drying shrinkage, water vapour permeability, capillary water absorption and resistance to sulphates. DTA-TG and XRD analyses confirmed the role of the hydration reactions involving the main reactive phases of the investigated binders. Moreover, it has been found that sulphoaluminate mortar showed the smallest free shrinkage and the highest restrained shrinkage, mainly due to its high dynamic modulus of elasticity. The reduced pore distribution of geopolymeric mortar was responsible of the lowest capillary water absorption at short curing times and both the highest permeability to water vapour and the greatest resistance to sulphate attack.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Porous geopolymer insulating core from a metakaolin/ biomass ash  composite
Authors: Natali Murri A. 1,*, Medri V. 1, Laghi L. 2, Mingazzini C. 3, Papa E. 1, Landi E. 1
Affiliations: 1 ISTEC-CNR: via Granarolo, 64 – 48018 Faenza (RA), Italy; Email: annalisa.natalimurri@istec.cnr.it; 2 CertMaC ScarL: via Granarolo, 62 – 48018 Faenza (RA), Italy; 3 CertMaC ScarL: via Granarolo, 62 – 48018 Faenza (RA), Italy
Abstract: Ashes derived from the co-combustion of both vegetal and animal biomass still represent a mostly unexplored secondary raw material for the production of alkali-activated materials. Given their peculiar nature, mainly based on calcium phosphates and, only secondarily, on aluminosilicate compounds, they might be regarded as partially reactive fillers for sustainable geopolymer composite formulations. In this work mixed biomass ashes were used in combination with metakaolin and potassium di-silicate aqueous solution to produce, by direct foaming, sustainable thermal insulating lightweight boards with load bearing abilities. Such biomass ash/metakaolin based geopolymer composite was developed to be used as an insulating core for a basalt fiber reinforced Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC) sandwich panel. The composite formulation has been set up to maximize both the volume of disposed ashes and the thermo-mechanical properties of the obtained geopolymer. Microstructural, chemical-physical, thermal and mechanical characterization were performed: the obtained results showed that biomass ash and metakaolin are well integrated in the microstructure of the final material, with hydroxyapatite phases from the ash being homogeneously incorporated within the aluminosilicate network. A formulation using a biomass ash: metakaolin ratio of 1:1 and the addition of pore forming agent in measure of 5 wt.% exhibited the best results in terms of extent of consolidation and generated pore network, showing adequate mechanical strength and a promising thermal conductivity value of 0.073 W/mK. This study was developed in the frame of the project EEE-CFCC (www.eee-cfcc-it), POR FESR of E-R Region, Italy.

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