Special Issue "Alkali‐Activated Materials for Sustainable Construction"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Construction and Building Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Paola Antonaci
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Structural, Geotechnical and Building Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Italy
Interests: development of advanced materials for the construction sector (self-healing concretes and sustainable geopolymers); mechanical characterization of materials and structures; development and application of non‐destructive testing methods
Prof. Paola Palmero
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Applied Science and Technology, Politecnico di Torino, Italy
Tel. +39 0110904678
Interests: design and development of innovative compositions, structures and materials for the construction sector (waste‐based cements and alkali‐activated binders and materials); physical, microstructural, and mechanical characterization of materials and structures; composition–structure–properties relationships
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Jean-Marc Tulliani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Applied Science and Technology, Politecnico di Torino, Italy
Interests: development of advanced materials for the construction sector (self-healing and self‐sensing concretes, as well as alkali‐activated materials); physical, microstructural, and mechanical characterization of materials; materials aging and decay
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A significant share of the global environmental impact related to energy and raw materials consumption, waste production, and greenhouse gas emission is due to the construction industry. To face the increasing demand for new infrastructures, urban spaces, and public service buildings in emerging countries and to fulfill the need for maintenance and restoration of the existing structures in developed countries, the construction industry itself has to evolve and resort to novel low‐impact materials and processes. The alkali‐activation process displays great potential in this sense, allowing the incorporation or transformation of waste materials into high-performance construction products. This Special Issue aims to collect the most recent research advances on the development and characterization of such materials in order to provide a better understanding of their micro‐ and macro‐structural properties and to promote their possible use in the construction industry.

Prof. Paola Antonaci
Prof. Paola Palmero
Prof. Jean-Marc Tulliani
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • alkali‐activated materials
  • waste materials
  • recycled materials
  • construction materials
  • low‐impact materials
  • life cycle
  • embodied carbon

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Alkali Activation of Waste Clay Bricks: Influence of The Silica Modulus, SiO2/Na2O, H2O/Na2O Molar Ratio, and Liquid/Solid Ratio
Materials 2020, 13(2), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13020383 - 14 Jan 2020
Abstract
This study was conducted to investigate the influence of various reaction conditions, namely the silica modulus SiO2/Na2O, H2O/Na2O molar ratio, and liquid/solid ratio on the geopolymerization reaction of the waste fired clay bricks (Grog). The [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to investigate the influence of various reaction conditions, namely the silica modulus SiO2/Na2O, H2O/Na2O molar ratio, and liquid/solid ratio on the geopolymerization reaction of the waste fired clay bricks (Grog). The starting raw material and the generated geopolymer specimens produced by different geopolymerization reaction conditions have been characterized using different techniques: X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscope (SEM) and thermal analysis. Furthermore, physico–mechanical characterization has been carried out through the determination of bulk density, porosity, water absorption, and compressive strength for each sample at interval curing times of up to 28 days. The results indicated that the geopolymerization system of the waste fired clay bricks is influenced by the investigated reaction conditions at room temperature. The compressive strength of the geopolymer sample produced at optimum conditions increased significantly by up to 37.5 MPa, in comparison with 4.5 MPa for other conditions. Finally, an optimum recommendation and useful conclusions concerning the recycling and utilization of this waste material through the geopolymerization process are made for compatibility with construction applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alkali‐Activated Materials for Sustainable Construction)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of the Effects of Magnesium-Sulfate as Slag Activator
Materials 2020, 13(2), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13020305 - 09 Jan 2020
Abstract
This study is about the mechanical and microstructural properties of alkali-activated slag (AAS) paste using magnesium sulfate (MS) as an activator. MS is 2%, 4%, 6%, 8% and 10% contents of binder weight and water-binder ratio is 0.35. Compressive strength, X-ray diffraction, mercury-intrusion [...] Read more.
This study is about the mechanical and microstructural properties of alkali-activated slag (AAS) paste using magnesium sulfate (MS) as an activator. MS is 2%, 4%, 6%, 8% and 10% contents of binder weight and water-binder ratio is 0.35. Compressive strength, X-ray diffraction, mercury-intrusion porosimetry, and thermal analysis were performed for analysis. The MS contents at which the maximum compressive strength appeared varied according to the measurement age. Hydration products affecting compressive strength and pore structure were ettringite and gypsum. As a result, the changes of ettringite and gypsum depending on the contents of MS have a great influence on the pore structure, which causes the change of compressive strength. The high MS contents increases the amount of gypsum in the hydration products, and the excess gypsum causes high expansion, which increases the diameter and amount of pores, thereby reducing the compressive strength. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alkali‐Activated Materials for Sustainable Construction)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Fineness and Chemical Composition of Blast Furnace Slag on Properties of Alkali-Activated Binder
Materials 2019, 12(20), 3447; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12203447 - 21 Oct 2019
Abstract
The effects of fines and chemical composition of three types of ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) on various concrete properties were studied. Those studied were alkali activated by liquid sodium silicate (SS) and sodium carbonate (SC). Flowability, setting times, compressive strength, efflorescence, [...] Read more.
The effects of fines and chemical composition of three types of ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) on various concrete properties were studied. Those studied were alkali activated by liquid sodium silicate (SS) and sodium carbonate (SC). Flowability, setting times, compressive strength, efflorescence, and carbonation resistance and shrinkage were tested. The chemical composition and microstructure of the solidified matrixes were studied by X-ray diffraction (XRD), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled with EDX analyser. The results showed that the particle size distribution of the slags and the activator type had significantly stronger effects on all measured properties than their chemical composition. The highest compressive strength values were obtained for the finest slag, which having also the lowest MgO content. SC-activated mortar produced nearly the same compressive strength values independently of the used slag. The most intensive efflorescence and the lowest carbonation resistance developed on mortars based on slag containing 12% of MgO and the lowest fineness. The slag with the highest specific surface area and the lowest MgO content developed a homogenous microstructure, highest reaction temperature and lowest drying shrinkage. Thermogravimetric analysis indicated the presence of C-(A)-S-H, hydrotalcite HT, and carbonate like-phases in all studied mortars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alkali‐Activated Materials for Sustainable Construction)
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Open AccessArticle
Efficiency of Different Superplasticizers and Retarders on Properties of ‘One-Part’ Fly Ash-Slag Blended Geopolymers with Different Activators
Materials 2019, 12(20), 3410; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12203410 - 18 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Currently, there are a very limited number of studies on the effect of admixtures on properties of ‘one-part’ geopolymers. This paper reports the effects of different superplasticizers and retarders on fresh and hardened properties of one-part fly ash-slag blended geopolymers made by different [...] Read more.
Currently, there are a very limited number of studies on the effect of admixtures on properties of ‘one-part’ geopolymers. This paper reports the effects of different superplasticizers and retarders on fresh and hardened properties of one-part fly ash-slag blended geopolymers made by different solid activators. Two different grades of sodium silicate, namely anhydrous sodium metasilicate powder (nSiO2/nNa2O = 0.9) and GD Grade sodium silicate powder (nSiO2/nNa2O = 2.0) were used as the solid activators. Five different commercially available superplasticizers, including three modified polycarboxylate-based superplasticizers (denoted as PC1, PC2, and PC3) and two naphthalene-based superplasticizers (denoted as N1 and N2), as well as three different retarders, including sucrose, anhydrous borax and a commercially available retarder, were investigated. Workability, setting time and compressive strength of the mixtures without and with addition of each ‘individual’ admixture were measured. The results showed the effect of admixtures on the properties of the one-part geopolymers significantly depended on the type of solid activator and the type of admixture used. When GD Grade sodium silicate powder was used as the solid activator, all investigated admixtures not only had no positive effect on the workability and setting time, but also significantly reduced the compressive strength of the mixture. However, when anhydrous sodium metasilicate powder was used as the solid activator, the PC1 and sucrose were the best performing superplasticizer and retarder, respectively, causing no reduction in the compressive strength, but significant increase in the workability (up to + 72%) and setting time (up to + 111%), respectively as compared to the mixture with no admixture. In addition, the results also showed that addition of ‘combined’ admixtures (i.e., PC1 in the presence of sucrose) significantly increased the workability (up to + 39%) and setting time (up to + 141%), but slightly reduced the compressive strength (−16%) of the mixture activated by anhydrous sodium metasilicate powder, as compared to the mixture with no admixture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alkali‐Activated Materials for Sustainable Construction)
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