The objective of this study is to develop and characterize kaolinite clay-based structural mortar. The pozzolanic reaction induced from two mineral additives, i.e., calcium hydroxide and silica fume (SF), and the physical filling effect from SF, were found to be effective on the enhancement of structural properties. Based on several preliminary experiments, 7:3 ratio of kaolinite clay/calcium hydroxide was selected as a basic binder. Then, the amount of SF was chosen as 0%, 7.5%, and 15% of the total binder to consider both the chemical and physical effects. The results showed that compressive strengths of samples with 7.5% and 15% SF are significantly increased by approximately 200% and 350%, respectively, at 28 days compared to the sample without SF. However, based on the results of the sample with 15% SF, it is found that excessive addition of SF causes long-term strength loss, possibly owing to micro cracks. With the careful consideration on this long-term behavior, this suggested new mix design can be further extended to develop sustainable structural materials using natural minerals or waste materials with nonbinding properties.
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