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Civil Engineering

2099

GEOPOLYMER CONCRETE: THE FUTURE OF GREEN BUILDING MATERIALS


Matthew Kambic (mjk89@pitt.edu), Joshua Hammaker (jjh75@pitt.edu)
Abstract Concrete is the most abundant manmade material in the world. One of the main ingredients in a normal concrete mixture is Portland cement. However, the production of cement is responsible for approximately 5% of the worlds carbon dioxide emissions. In order to create a more sustainable world, engineers and scientists must develop and put into use a greener building material. This paper will discuss the use of geopolymer concrete as well as consider its ethical issues. Additionally, this paper will explore the areas in which geopolymer concrete out performs ordinary concrete. Geopolymer concrete uses fly ash, a byproduct created from the burning of coal. Currently, the majority of fly ash is dumped into landfills, causing environmental problems. The production of geopolymer concrete allows fly ash to be recycled and eliminated from landfills. Geopolymer concrete is also more resistant to damage than standard concrete. For example, geopolymer concrete is stronger under tension and compression than its cement based counterpart. It is also more resistant to salts, acids, seawater corrosion, and fire. There are some disadvantages of geopolymer concrete that must be overcome before its incorporation into the construction industry, many of which will be discussed. Presently, it is difficult to create geopolymer concrete outside of a laboratory setting as it is still being researched by engineers and scientists. However, if this material can be readily and safely produced at low costs it will revolutionize the construction industry. Key Words: Cement, Concrete, Fly Ash, Geopolymer, Portland, Sustainability binder in concrete, contributes to more than 5 percent of the total greenhouse gases released globally each year. This is unacceptable in a world where sustainable and green building has become a major issue. This brings up a very good question: Is there a cleaner, more efficient, more reliable, and even stronger substitute to the concrete that is currently used? The answer is geopolymer concrete. Geopolymer concrete does not use Portland cement; it uses a highly abundant material called fly ash. Fly ash is a waste product so geopolymer concrete is actually recycling products when it is created. Geopolymer concrete is also much more durable that ordinary concrete due to its resistance to corrosion. It is also much stronger than ordinary concrete. In fact, ancient buildings such as the Roman Coliseum and the Egyptian Pyramids were made out of a type of concrete very similar to the geopolymer concrete that is under development today. If it could be used thousands of years ago, then there should be nothing preventing todays engineers from modernizing this ancient technology so that it can fit the needs of society in the 21 st century. Geopolymer concrete is a revolutionary sustainable building material that will pave the way for green building. [1]

WHAT IS GEOPOLYMER CONCRETE?


Geopolymer concrete is a high strength and lightweight inorganic polymer that can be used in place of normal concrete. The main difference between normal concrete and geopolymer concrete is that normal concrete uses ordinary Portland cement (OPC) as a binder whereas geopolymer concrete uses a chemical and fly ash mixture as a binder. Geopolymer concrete has multiple benefits; unfortunately, it has seen very little application in the construction industry so far. Geopolymer concrete is becoming increasingly popular as the demand for a green and sustainable building material increases each year. COMPOSITION AND CREATION Geopolymer concrete is made of up multiple ingredients. Like normal concrete, about 75%-80% of the mass is made of coarse and fine aggregates. An example of coarse aggregate is crushed stone or gravel and an example of fine aggregate is sand. Chemical admixtures such as air entrainers or superplasticizers can be added to the concrete mixture so that its qualities can be adjusted to meet the needs of the project. Air entrainers add air bubbles into the mixture and superplasticizers reduce the amount of water in the March 1, 2012 1

THE FUTURE OF GREEN BUILDING


A world without concrete would be a very flat, dull world. In fact, without concrete it would be impossible for magnificent buildings such as the Sydney Opera House, the Chrysler Building, or Taj Mahal to exist. The skyscrapers of cities would have no way to reach such impressive heights if it were not for concrete. The Roman Coliseum was constructed using concrete and has been standing for almost 2,000 years. Without the durability of concrete, historic buildings, such as the Coliseum, would have withered away centuries ago. Unmistakably, concrete is an essential aspect of everyday life. This being said, the production of modern concrete carries with it a heavy price. The manufacturing of concrete causes billions of tons of raw materials to be wasted every year due to the inefficiency of concrete production. Additionally, the production of Portland cement, the main University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering

Matthew Kambic Joshua Hammaker mixture and allow it to be much more workable. [2] However, while ordinary concrete uses cement to bind the aggregates together, geopolymer concrete mixtures use a geopolymer paste. Geopolymer paste is created by combining fly ash, which contains silicon and aluminum, with a sodium hydroxide and sodium silicate solution. This is also known as water glass. The resulting reaction starts the process of geopolymerization which leads to the creation of a geopolymer. GEOPOLYMERIZATION Geopolymerization is the exothermic process that describes the creation of a geopolymer. First, the sodium hydroxide and sodium silicate solution dissolve the silicon and aluminum that is found in fly ash. These dissolved ions then undergo a condensation reaction, forming monomers in the form of Si O Al -O, -Si- O- Al -O- Si -O, or Si -O- AlO- Si-O. [3] Applying heat between the temperatures of 60oC and 80oC for a period of approximately 6 to 12 hours to these monomers causes them to polymerize, or link together and form rigid chains. The polymers are then allowed to harden. It is this process that allows the creation of geopolymer concrete. WHAT IS FLY ASH? Fly ash is one of the most abundant materials on the Earth. It is also a crucial ingredient in the creation of geopolymer concrete due to its role in the geopolymerization process. Fly ash is a powdery pozzolan. A pozzolan is a material that exhibits cementitious properties when combined with calcium hydroxide. Fly ash is the main byproduct created from the combustion of coal in coal-fired power plants. There are two classes of fly ash, Class F and Class C. Each class of fly ash has its own unique properties. Class F fly ash is created from the burning of either anthracite or bituminous coal. [toolbase.org] This Class of fly ash has little to no self-cementing properties and contains very little calcium oxide (also known as lime). In order to apply Class F fly ash in concrete, it must be combined with some type of cementing agent, such as Portland cement, and must also be combined with an air-entraining admixture. This is not a very economic process if it is going to be made into ordinary concrete. Class C fly ash, on the other hand, is produced through the combustion of lignite or subbituminous coal. Unlike Class F fly ash, it has self-cementing properties and a much higher lime concentration which makes it ideal for use in ordinary Portland cement based concrete. Geopolymer concrete generally requires the use of Class F fly ash. In terms of chemistry, fly ash is composed of multiple chemical compounds, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, and uranium, as well as other harmful chemicals. However, the harmful aspects of these chemicals are neutralized when they undergo a polymerization reaction. [4] The most important compounds in the fly ash when it comes to geopolymer concrete are silicon dioxide and aluminum (III) oxide. Not only do these account for approximately 70% of the total weight of fly ash, [5] but they are the main reactants in the geopolymerization reaction. Currently, fly ash is recycled into ordinary Portland cement based concrete by acting as a substitute for Portland cement at a rate of 1 to 1.5 pounds of fly ash per 1 pound of cement to increase the overall strength of the concrete. [5] According to the Federal Highway Administration, States allow a maximum substitution in the range of 15 to 25 percent, [6] depending on the specific chemical composition and type of fly ash used. The Class of fly ash used depends on the specific application. For example, Class C fly ash should not be used in a an environment in which it may come in contact with sulfate, as this type of fly ash may actually lower resistance to sulfate. On the contrary, class F fly ash will actually increase sulfate resistance.

ADVANTAGES OF GEOPOLYMER CONCRETE


Geopolymer concrete has many advantages over normal concrete. It is stronger, more resistant to chemicals and corrosion, and has more possible applications than concrete made with ordinary Portland cement. Geopolymer concrete is not a wonder material. It needs to be specifically tailored to be able to handle itself in certain situations, just like ordinary concrete. Overall geopolymer concrete is better and more reliable in extreme environments when compared to ordinary concrete. HIGH STRENGTH Geopolymer concrete has a high compressive strength. In fact, in a lab test geopolymer concrete showed higher compressive strength than that of ordinary concrete. After having ample time to cure, geopolymer concrete was able to withstand over 10 megapascals more than the ordinary concrete. [7] 10 megapascals is equal to about 145 pounds per square inch. This is a very large amount of pressure; a stationary 70 ton M1 Abrams tank exerts only about 15 pounds per square inch of pressure on the ground. The following chart is a graph of the compressive strength, in megapascals against its age in days, of geopolymer concrete versus ordinary concrete.

Matthew Kambic Joshua Hammaker HEAT AND COLD RESISTANCE In addition, geopolymer concrete shows excellent fire and heat resistance. It has the ability to remain stable in temperatures of more than 1200 o C (about 2200o F.) Although no type of concrete is flammable, excessive heat (such heat from a fire) is very dangerous. Not only does it reduce the strength of the concrete, but it may also cause the concrete to spall. Spalling is the breaking off of layers of concrete and may be seen in the form of an explosion. In terms of concrete, an explosion refers to a loud popping noise, not necessarily the act of dangerously launching pieces of concrete at high velocities. Since geopolymer concrete has such a high resistance to heat and fire, it is less likely to suffer the negative effects of spalling, and is fully immune to explosive spalling. Not only does geopolymer concrete perform well under high-heat conditions, but it is also resistant to freezing. This is important due to the tendency of thawing to harm the structure of the concrete. Even though its pores are very small, concrete is still considered a porous material. Water enters the concrete through these pores and remains there until it evaporates. However, if the temperature drops below freezing, the water inside the concrete will freeze and expand. [8] After freezing, the water, now in the form of ice, will occupy approximately 9% more volume than it did as a liquid. This expansion will destroy the concretes structure by causing the concrete to spall. This process, known as the freeze-thaw cycle, will continue throughout the life of the concrete, causing continuous damage. Fly ash helps reduce the permeability of geopolymer concrete, preventing water from invading. Since the damage of the freeze-thaw cycle in concrete is directly linked to the amount of water that is permitted to enter a concrete sample, geopolymer concrete will not experience as much damage as ordinary concrete. CHEMICAL RESISTANCE Geopolymer concrete also has very low shrinkage and creep. Shrinkage is the tendency of concrete to shrink due to the drying and heating of the concrete and the evaporation of water from the concrete. Shrinkage causes dangerous cracks in the material. As opposed to standard concrete, geopolymer concrete does not hydrate, and therefore will not experience shrinkage to nearly the same extent. In fact, it has 4/5 lower shrinkage than standard concrete. [1] Geopolymer concrete additionally has very low creep. Creep is the tendency of a material to become permanently deformed as a result of constant forces being applied to it. In order to create a safe, long lasting structure, it is essential to have a material that is affected as little as possible by these major deformations. Since geopolymer concrete is not drastically affected by these two factors, it maintains a strong advantage over ordinary concrete. Geopolymer concrete also has a strong chemical resistance. It is highly resistant to acids, toxic waste, and salt water. According to one study, geopolymer concrete has significantly higher resistance to acid then ordinary concrete. After 8 weeks of immersion in sulfuric acid, geopolymer concrete made with Class F fly ash lost only about 5% of its compressive strength. This is due to its alkalinity. Ordinary concrete, on the other hand, lost around 85% of its strength. [7] Geopolymer concrete also has the ability to contain toxic and radioactive waste. Obviously, it is hazardous to the health of both the environment and to humans to allow toxic and radioactive wastes to be released into the environment. Geopolymer concrete immobilizes dangerous wastes such as uranium, trapping the toxic waste to prevent it from leaking into the environment. As a matter of fact, these dangerous wastes can be mixed with geopolymer concrete and neutralized. This mixture then hardens to form an

FIGURE 1
COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH OF OPC AND GPC OVER TIME [7]

Not only does this graph show geopolymer concretes high maximum compressive strength, but it also shows a rapid strength gain. Geopolymer concrete reached its maximum strength in less than 20 days. Ordinary concrete did not perform quite as well; it took close to 100 days to reach its maximum strength. Even so, the ordinary concretes max compressive strength is still much less than that of geopolymer concrete. The lack of tensile strength is a major drawback of ordinary concrete. Its tensile strength is dangerously low when compared to the high magnitude of its compressive strength. This means that concrete is brittle in situations like earthquakes, where numerous compressive and tensile forces act on the material. In addition to its high compressive strength, geopolymer concrete also has a high tensile strength compared to ordinary concrete. Although this does not make geopolymer concrete earthquake-proof, a higher tensile strength is certainly an advantage in many situations. LOW SHRINKAGE AND CREEP

Matthew Kambic Joshua Hammaker impermeable solid, with the waste trapped inside. When applied in this way, geopolymer concrete can help to improve the health and safety of the public. [9] Unlike regular concrete, geopolymer concrete is also resistant to salt water. Corrosion due to salt water is a major problem with normal concrete. In Portland cement based concrete, salt water continuously attacks and destroys the material, causing cracks which allow more water to enter and cause further damage. Although geopolymer concrete does feel some of the effects of salt water corrosion, it is not affected nearly on nearly the same level. This can be seen in the following graph which shows Time vs. milliamperes. To prove that geopolymer concrete is well-suited to withstand salt water applications, a scientist measured the amount of corrosion due to salt water on samples of both geopolymer and ordinary concrete. As salt water corroded the materials, water penetrated the concrete. A direct current between the water and steel beams inside the samples was created. In the graph, if higher amperage was recorded, this indicates that the sample of concrete was corroded more compared to lower recorded amperage.

APPLICATIONS OF GEOPOLYMER CONCRETE Due to its wide range of properties, geopolymer concrete has many possible areas of application that give the material another huge advantage over standard concrete. Ideally, geopolymer concrete will gain more publicity and support as it is actually applied in various areas. Once again, it is important to note that a single mixture of geopolymer concrete will not necessarily have all of the properties for each of the following applications. One possible application of geopolymer concrete is in the construction and repair of highways, roads, and airport runways. [5] In fact, geopolymer concrete is already being used by the United States military due to its ability to withstand heat, which is created from aircraft taking off. [5] According to one source, after 1 hour it can withstand a walking person, after 4 hours it can hold a car, and after only 6 hours, due to its rapid strength gain, a runway made out of geopolymer concrete has gained enough strength to withstand the pressure of an Airbus or Boeing airplane. The same runway made from regular cement based concrete would have taken several days to achieve a similar level of strength. This property of rapid strength gain permits geopolymer concrete to be applied in areas where a fast and reliable fix is required such as on highways. The faster a highway can be repaired, the sooner it can be reopened to restore the traffic flow. Since geopolymer concrete also has a high resistance to chloride, it will suffer less damage in the winter than roads and highways made from ordinary concrete when calcium chloride road salts are used to lower the freezing point of water and keep roads operational. Another possible application of geopolymer concrete is in maritime settings. Due to its high resistance to salt water, geopolymer concrete may be used for concrete structures that will be under constant attack from salt water. Piers, coastal bridges, and underwater concrete supports are excellent examples of areas in which geopolymer concrete would perform superbly. A major issue with maritime concrete structures, such as bridges, is the corrosion of the steel supports contained within the concrete. Since steel corrodes when in contact with a substance of a pH less than 11, and the pH of seawater is 8, seawater will easily cause the corrosion of steel. In order to prevent this corrosion, the concrete that encases the steel must be immune to chloride corrosion. As a result of its resistance to chloride corrosion, geopolymer concrete could be applied in order to prevent seawater from reaching the steel supports. Geopolymer concrete is also much more suited than ordinary concrete to be used in cold climates. Due to its high resistance to freezing, geopolymer concrete may find widespread use in northern regions, where the freezing of concrete is a common problem. Because of its high resistance to acids and toxic waste, geopolymer concrete can be applied in various highly acidic and toxic environments. Examples of this type of setting

FIGURE 2
VARIATIONS OF CURRENT WITH TIME IN OPC AND GPC [10]

As shown by the graphs, geopolymer concrete allowed less current to pass through its body, showing that it experienced negligible corrosion, especially when compared to that of the ordinary concrete.

Matthew Kambic Joshua Hammaker include sewer pipes and landfills. Geopolymer concrete can ensure long lasting structures that will prevent dangerous chemicals from escaping into the environment. Preventing corrosion in sewer pipes is especially important. Since the pipes are underground, it is very expensive and wasteful to try and repair them, especially if a pipe is under a road, which would have to be partially demolished in order to accomplish repairs. ECONOMIC VIABILITY OF GEOPOLYMER CONCRETE Although geopolymer concrete has demonstrated itself superior to ordinary Portland cement based concrete in various areas, it must also be an economically viable option in order to replace the more traditional material in any application. If it would prove to be too expensive, it would not be a reasonable substitute. Therefore, the financial obligations must be considered as well as the performance of the material. Geopolymer concrete is significantly cheaper than Portland cement based concrete in terms of the cost of materials. First of all, fly ash is very inexpensive. In fact, it may be possible to acquire the material at no cost, since it is a waste product. Even if the vendor sells the fly ash, its price per ton would be considerably less than that of a ton of Portland cement due to the incredibly high supply of fly ash. The price of fly ash is between 10% and 30% less than the price of Portland cement. Even if the price of the activating chemicals needed to create geopolymer concrete is considered, it is estimated that enough sodium silicate solution and sodium hydroxide to convert 1 ton of fly ash to 2.5 cubic meters of geopolymer concrete can be purchased for about $55. [13] Geopolymer concrete can also save money over its lifetime when compared to current concrete technology. It has been clearly shown that geopolymer concrete is not nearly as prone to damage as ordinary concrete. It is not nearly as affected by damaging factors such as spalling, freezing, and exposure to chemicals. This allows it to last much longer. By maintaining a longer lifespan, it will not be necessary to constantly fix the many problems associated with concrete, saving the large amounts of money conventionally spent on repair costs. if not handled properly. Sodium hydroxide can be very harmful to health if mishandled. It has been rated with a classification of 3 in terms of danger to health (0 being the least hazardous, and 4 being the most). Since it is a strong base with a pH of 14, sodium hydroxide is also very corrosive to areas such as the eyes, skin, and nose. [14] If engineers are able to find a less hazardous method of activating the geopolymer concrete, it will be safer to prepare, especially if is prepared outside of a lab setting. Due to the dangers of handling chemicals and the liability issues that ensue, geopolymer concrete is generally sold as a pre-cast or pre-mixed material. A second problem that must be solved is the sensitivity of the geopolymerization process. Present research in the field seems to lack a degree of uniformity. Many scientists have come to conflicting conclusions. For example, while it seems clear that elevated temperatures are necessary to increase the strength of geopolymer concrete, data has been collected suggesting that longer curing time increases the strength of the material. On the contrary, other researchers found that a longer cure time actually lowered the quality of the final product. [2] It is apparent that more time and effort needs to be dedicated to the research and development of geopolymer concrete. Unless researchers can provide consistent data related to the properties and production of geopolymer concrete, it will be difficult for it to replace a product that has been used throughout the world since the development of modern Portland cement in the 1840s. Although the challenges of geopolymer concrete are few compared to its benefits, they still pose a threat to the possibility of its application.

ETHICS OF FLY ASH


Fly ash in its raw form is highly toxic to the environment and is widely classified as a carcinogen. However, when fly ash is incorporated into geopolymer concrete it undergoes a chemical transformation that eliminates the harmful effects associated with raw fly ash [15]. There have been numerous incidents that have demonstrated the destructive power of raw fly ash. In Kingston, Tennessee on December 22, 2008 the retaining wall of a landfill that stored fly ash from a coal-fired power plant ruptured, pouring about 1,123,000,000 gallons of fly ash slurry (fly ash mixed with water) onto the citizens of Kingston as well as into the tributaries of the Tennessee River. This is enough fly ash slurry to fill 1,700 Olympic sized swimming pools. This accident decimated 300 acres of land and also caused extreme contamination of the water sources nearby and down river. It was estimated at the time that this would require several years to clean up and would be a multi-billion dollar project. [16] Unfortunately, there are a profound number of documented cases of harmful chemicals from fly ash leaking into water sources from a landfill and contaminating these

CHALLENGES
It has been shown that geopolymer concrete has numerous advantages over ordinary Portland cement based concrete. However, there are challenges that must be overcome before geopolymer concrete can see widespread application. One challenge that engineers must overcome is the special handling needs and difficulty related to the creation of geopolymer concrete. First and foremost, geopolymer concrete requires the use of chemicals which can be harmful

Matthew Kambic Joshua Hammaker water sources. Additionally, little has been done so far to recycle fly ash and to keep it out of landfills. [4] One of the main ways calamities, like the one Kingston, Tennessee experienced, can be prevented is to integrate fly ash into a material that would be widely produced and demanded. The solution is geopolymer concrete. Geopolymer concrete recycles fly ash and thus keeps it out of landfills. HOW IS GEOPOLYMER CONCRETE AN ETHICAL SOLUTION TO THE CURRENT FLY ASH PROBLEM? There are multiple factors that must be considered when determining whether a new or developing technology can be considered ethical. One could postulate that since geopolymer concrete uses fly ash and will lead to less fly ash in landfills and fly ash is a material that is extremely toxic and has been proven to be carcinogenic, that geopolymer concrete can automatically be considered ethical. This is a very valid viewpoint and is one of the contributing factors confirming that geopolymer concrete is in fact an ethical technology. The ethicality of geopolymer concrete can be further confirmed by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Both of these very well respected organizations have drawn out their own code of ethics and they describe exactly what is considered to be ethical in the realm of engineering. In the code of ethics drawn out by the National Society of Professional Engineers there is a section that states Engineers shall at all times strive to serve the public interest and are encouraged to adhere to the principles of sustainable development in order to protect the environment for future generations. [17] The principle of sustainable development is defined by the National Society of Professional Engineers as a practice that assures that the environment and other resources essential for future development are conserved. Geopolymer concrete is an excellent example of a sustainable technology. By using geopolymer concrete, fly ash will not end up in landfills. This means that it will not be able to contaminate the environment it would have otherwise been exposed to. The use of geopolymer concrete accomplishes the exact task outlined in the NSPE code of ethics. The American Society of Civil Engineers code of ethics is specifically geared towards civil engineering. The section that is most relevant to geopolymer concrete states Engineers [will] uphold and advance the integrity, honor and dignity of the engineering profession by using their knowledge and skill for the enhancement of human welfare and the environment. [18] The concrete that is currently used is made from ordinary Portland cement (OPC). The amount of CO2 released in the production of OPC is about a 1:1 ratio. This means that for every ton of ordinary Portland cement produced, about one ton of CO 2 is released into the atmosphere. Portland cement is the most abundantly used man-made material in the world, and it certainly has a carbon footprint to confirm this. 5-8 percent of yearly worldwide CO2 emissions are due to the production of Portland cement. Over 2.6 billion tons of OPC was produced in 2009. This number is now increasing at a steady rate of 5 percent every year. If this same rate is continued, the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere due to the production of ordinary Portland cement will be double that amount in as little as 10 years. This means that yearly worldwide CO2 emissions due to the production of Portland cement could be over 10 percent. Geopolymer concrete, on the other hand, is produced utilizing processes that release 90 percent less CO 2 [19]. Furthermore, for every ton of Portland cement, about 1.5 tons of raw materials are needed. This suggests that the production of Portland cement is a very inefficient process and results in the wasting of an incredible amount of raw materials. Conversely, the production of geopolymer concrete is much more efficient. Another area in which geopolymer concrete outperforms OPC is in the amount of energy required to produce these materials. The production of geopolymer concrete requires 3/5 less energy to produce than ordinary Portland cement. The worldwide use of geopolymer concrete will clearly be a step in the right direction for curbing CO2 emissions and will thus lead to the enhancement of human welfare and the environment. [18]

BUILDING A GREENER FUTURE


Geopolymer concrete is a sustainable building material that is better than ordinary concrete in multiple areas. Geopolymer concrete can be classified as sustainable whereas concrete made from ordinary Portland cement cannot. Additionally, geopolymer concrete is produced in a more efficient and energy saving way. It is also stronger as well as more chemical, heat, cold, and corrosion resistant than normal concrete. Geopolymer concrete is still in the developmental stages of its life and therefore has yet to see any major incorporation into the construction industry. [The] durability attributes of geopolymers make them attractive for use in high-cost, severe-environment applications. [6] The faster the switch from ordinary concrete to geopolymer concrete is made, the better off the environment and society will be. Hopefully one day in the near future geopolymer concrete will replace ordinary Portland cement as the most abundant man-made material on earth.

REFERENCES
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Concrete." ACI Materials Journal. [Online Research Paper]. Available: http://fportfolio.petra.ac.id/user_files/10002/On%20the%20Development%20of%20Fly%20Ashbased%20Geopolymer%20Concrete.pdf [3] S. Wallah and B. Rangan. (2006). "LOW-CALCIUM FLY ASHBASED GEOPOLYMER CONCRETE: LONG-TERM PROPERTIES." Geopolymer.org. [Online Research Paper]. Available: http://www.geopolymer.org/ [4] D. Hopey. (2011, February 2). Report says fly ash sites leak chromium into water. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. [Online Article]. Available: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11033/1122250-455.stm [5] S. Vaidya, E. Diaz, and E. Allouche. (2011). Experimental Evaluation of Self-Cure Geopolymer Concrete for Mass Pour Applications. World of Coal Ash Conference. [Online Article]. Available: http://www.flyash.info/2011/156-Vaidya-2011.pdf [6] (2010, March). "Geopolymer Concrete." The Federal Highway Administration. [Online Article]. Available: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pavement/concrete/pubs/hif10014/hif10014.pdf [7] E. Ivan Diaz-Loya and E. Allouche. (2010). "Engineering Fly Ash-based Geopolymer Concrete." 2010 International Concrete Sustainability Conference. [Online PDF]. Available: http://concretetechnologyforum.org/2010CSCDubaiProceedings/documents /Diaz%20Presentation%2012-13-10.pdf [8] (2006, August 21). "Freeze-Thaw Deterioration of Concrete." Concrete Experts International. [Online Article]. Available: http://www.concreteexperts.com/pages/ft.htm [9] J. van Jaarsveld and J. van Deventer. (1997). "THE POTENITAL USE OF GEOPOLYMERIC MATERIALS TO IMMOBILISE TOXIC METALS." The University of Melbourne. [Online]. Available: http://www.geopolymer.org/fichiers_pdf/TOXICMET.pdf [10] D. Reddy, J-B Edouard, K. Sobhan, and A. Tipnis. (2011, August). "EXPERIMENTAL EVALUATION OF THE DURABILITY OF FLY ASH-BASED GEOPOLYMER CONCRETE IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT." LACCEI. [Online Research Paper]. Available: http://www.laccei.org/LACCEI2011Medellin/RefereedPapers/SE322_Reddy.pdf [11] (2006, April 7). "Introduction: developments and applications in geopolymer." Geopolymer Institute. [Online Article]. Available: http://www.geopolymer.org/applications/introduction-developments-andapplications-in-geopolymer [12] (2006, April 7). "Geopolymer cement." Geopolymer Institute. [Online]. Available: http://www.geopolymer.org/applications/geopolymer-cement [13] D. Hardjito and B. Rangan. (2005). "Development and Properties of Low-Calcium Fly Ash-Based Geopolymer Concrete." Curtin University of Technology. [Online Research Paper]. Available: http://www.geopolymer.org/fichiers_pdf/curtin-flyash-GP-concretereport.pdf [14] (1999, June). "Sodium Hydroxide Solution." National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [Online PDF]. Available: http://cameochemicals.noaa.gov/chris/SBX.pdf [15] R. Meij and H. te Winkel. (2001). "Health aspects of coal fly ash." University of Kentucky. [Online Research Paper]. Available: http://www.flyash.info/2001/keynote/21meij.pdf [16] A. Dedousis. (2009, Sept 1). "Old Kingston Fly Ash Landfill Accident - will they learn?." The Harvard Crimson. [Online Article]. Available: http://www.aggregateresearch.com/articles/17098/Old-Kingston-Fly-AshLandfill-Accident--will-they-learn.aspx [17] "NSPE Code of Ethics for Engineers." National Society of Professional Engineers. [Online Article]. Available: http://www.nspe.org/Ethics/CodeofEthics/index.html [18] "Code of Ethics." American Society of Civil Engineers. [Online Article]. Available: http://www.asce.org/Content.aspx?id=7231 [19] J. Salton. (2009, October 2). "New 'green' geopolymer concrete delivers win-win for industry and the planet." ECOGIZMO. [Online Article]. Available: http://www.gizmag.com/green-geopolymer-concretetechnology/13016/

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We would like to thank Andrew Bell for helping to review and edit our paper throughout the process. We would also like to thank our writing instructor, Caroline Hamilton, for providing valuable feedback throughout the process.