Special Issue "Geopolymers"
A special issue of Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2018).
Interests: mineralogy; ore geology; crystal growth; crystal structure; powder diffraction; crystal morphology; sector zoning; twining; environmental mineralogy; geochemistry; databases
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The term “geopolymer” was introduced in the early 1970s by Joseph Davidovits, for inorganic polymeric materials, synthesized (by him) from natural (geo-) silicon and aluminium containing sources, reacted with alkaline media (solvent). Geopolymers consist of repeating siloxonate—(Na, K, Ca) (-Si-O-Si-O-) or sialate—(Na, K, Ca) (-Si-O-Al-O-) units (oligomers), polycondensed into typically ceramic, covalently bounded, non-crystalline (amorphous) 3D networks. Further research widened their definition by adding ferro-sialate and alunino-phosphate oligomers, as well as acidic (using phosphoric or humic acids as solvent) geopolymerization routes.
The scientific interest in this innovative class of materials is driven by three main factors:
- A series of features, making geopolymers applicable and even preferred for many industrial applications, including:
Geopolymer resins and binders
- Fire-resistant materials, thermal insulation, foams
- Low-energy ceramic tiles, refractory items, thermal shock refractories
- High-tech resin systems, paints, binders and grouts
- Bio-technologies (materials for medicinal applications)
- Foundry industry (resins), tooling for the manufacture of organic fiber composites
- Composites for infrastructures repair and strengthening, fire-resistant and heat-resistant high-tech carbon-fiber composites for aircraft interiors and automobiles
- Radioactive and toxic waste containment
Geopolymer cements and concretes
- Low-tech building materials (clay bricks)
- Low-CO2 cements and concretes
- The possibility of employing in their synthesis a number of inorganic industrial waste products, like blast furnace slags, thermal power plant fly-ash, mine tailings, etc., some of which are abundantly available all over the world.
- Environment-friendly industrial production. The use of industrial waste can enormously enhance the resource efficiency of industrial branches generating such waste, like mining or metallurgy. On the other hand, the use of already-existing waste material can significantly diminish large waste dumps, directly improving the environmental status of affected areas.
The possible replacement (even partial) of ordinary cements and concretes by geopolymers (produced by carbon-free sources) is also a route to low-carbon production, diminishing the industrial tension on climate change.
Prof. Dr. Thomas N. Kerestedjian
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