Experimental Evaluation on Engineering Properties and Drying Shrinkage of No-Cement Mortar Produced by Alkaline Activation of Fly Ash-Slag Mixtures
Keywords:alkali-activated mortar, fly ash, ground granulated blast-furnace slag, drying shrinkage, microstructure
Turning locally available industrial by-products such as fly ash (FA) and ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBFS) into cement-free materials has been recently received much attention from researchers. Following this trend, the present study produces alkali-activated mortars (AAFS) using a mixture of FA and GGBFS as a precursor activated by an alkaline solution of sodium hydroxide and sodium silicate. Five AAFS mixtures were prepared for the evaluation of engineering properties, drying shrinkage, and microstructural observation using various FA/GGBFS ratios of 30/70, 40/60, 50/50, 60/40, and 70/30. The experimental results show that the proportions of FA and GGBFS significantly affected the performance of the AAFS in both fresh and hardened stages. Higher GGBFS content resulted in a reduction in flowability and higher fresh unit weight. The GGBFS-rich AAFS developed its mechanical strength faster than the FA-rich AAFS and the strength gain of the GGBFS-rich AAFS was significantly higher than that of the cement-based mortar at only 1-day old, confirming the applicability of AAFS as a structural material and its potential to replace cement in the no-cement mortar production. The AAFS sample incorporating 60% of GGBFS and 40% of FA exhibited the highest strength, lowest water absorption, and less drying shrinkage with a relatively dense microstructure among the AAFS samples.
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