Comparing the reactivity of different natural clays under thermal and alkali activation
Ahmed Zohair Khalifa
|Published in:||RILEM Technical Letters, February 2020, v. 4|
Metakaolin is one of the most popular solid aluminosilicate precursors for the synthesis of geopolymers. Despite its high reactivity and availability, there is a noticeable move towards the use of other natural clays as alternative precursors, due to their plentiful supply and widespread availability. Natural clays usually consist of a combination of 1:1 and 2:1 layer silicates reactivity of which vary. In this work, four different natural clays (SS, BS, MS and WS) composed of 1:1 and 2:1 clay minerals at different proportions were studied for the synthesis of geopolymers. To increase their reactivity prior to alkali activation, the clays were calcined in a laboratory oven at different temperatures (700, 750, 800, 850, 900 °C) and different holding times (10 seconds to 60 minutes). The reactivity of the calcined clays was assessed by the dissolution test and isothermal conduction calorimetry. NaOH and a mix of NaOH and Na2SiO3 were used as alkaline activators. The results show that the optimum calcination temperature of SS, BS and MS is 800 °C with a holding time of 10 minutes. WS is sufficiently calcined at a higher temperature of 900 °C for 20 minutes. Kaolinite-rich clays (SS) present more reactivity towards alkali activation than clays dominated by smectite or illite.
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