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Advanced Materials Research Vol.

741 (2013) pp 49-54


(2013) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland
doi:10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMR.741.49

Online: 2013-08-30

Compressive Strength Properties


of Fly Ash-based Geopolymer Concrete
Gum-Sung Ryu1,a,Gi-Hong Ahn1,b,Kyung-Taek Koh1,cand Jang-HwaLee1,d
1

StructuralEngineering& Bridges Research Division, Korea Institute of Construction Technology,


Goyang, 411-712, Korea
a

ryu0505@kict.re.kr, bagh0530@kict.re.kr, cktgo@kict.re.kr,djhlee@kict.re.kr

Keywords:Fly ash, Geopolymer, Polymerization, Compressive strength, Elastic modulus

Abstract.This study intends to investigate experimentally the mechanical characteristics of the


compressive strength and elastic modulus of concrete using 3 types of binder that are ordinary
Portland cement, fly ash and physically milled fly ash. The test results show that the compressive
strength and elastic modulus of the cement-zero concrete reached respectively 30.0 MPa and 19.1
GPa, and indicated that more than 90% of the strength was developed at early age. In addition, a
comparison of the geopolymer concrete with ordinary concrete enabled to derive and suggest
formulaeexpressing the elastic modulus in function of the compressive strength.
Introduction
Cement uses not only limestone but is also fabricated by burning clinker at high temperature of about
1,500C. This process exhausting 0.7 to 1.0 ton of carbon dioxide for each ton of cement produced is
responsible for 7 to 8% of the worldwide greenhouse gas exhaustion. The production of cement in
2010 in Korea reached 50.13 million tons, which represents a discharge of about 45.12 million tons of
CO2.Considering that the whole volume of CO2 exhausted in the sole year 2007 reached 620 hundred
million tons,this means that the cement industry was responsibleof approximately 7.3% of the
discharge in CO2. If the amount of CO2 generated from the fabrication of concrete to its placing is
added, this valuecan be estimated to rise up to 600 hundred million tons that is about 10% of the
whole greenhouse gas exhaust.
Fly ash-based geopolymer concrete was studied by numerous researchers after 2000 as an
environment-friendly binder exhibiting strengthened features through the dissolution and
polymerization of the Si and Al contents by means of alkali-activators with high pH [Fernandez et al.,
2003, 2005, Criado et al., 2007, Panias et al., 2007, Sumajaouw, 2007, Yang et al., 2008, Hu et al.,
2009, Temuujin et al., 2009].Table 1 arranges the values of the compressive strength of such
cement-zero concrete according to the grain size of fly ash, the curing method, and the size and type
of the specimens. In view of the table, it appears that the fabrication of cement-zero concrete using fly
ash necessitates the execution of curing for more than 24 hours and at temperature higher than 60C
and that the grain size of the adopted fly ash remains below 100 m. In addition, direct comparison of
the type of compressive strength by conducting tests on the paste and mortar is difficult but the
decisive factors contributing to the mechanical properties appear to be mainly the chemical
composition of the alkali-activator rather than that of the fly ash, the molarity and the curing
temperature.
The mechanical properties of this fly ash-based cement-zero concrete achieved by polymerization
are influenced not only by the behavior of the constituting materials but also by the interaction
between these materials. Moreover, most of the research focused on the paste or mortar. Accordingly,
this study intends to investigate the mechanical characteristics of the compressive strength and elastic
modulus of concrete using 3 types of binder that are ordinary Portland cement, fly ash and physically
milled fly ash.

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Materials and Nanotechnology in Engineering

Table 1.Comparison of the results of existing researches on cement-zero concrete.


Researcher

Particle size
[m]

Curing method

Specimen
size(type)
[mm]
400h< 10n
(mortar)
10>90%ys
(paste)

Compressive
strength [MPa]
Min.
Max.
32.0
91.6

A. Fernandez
et al.[2005]
M. Criado
et al.[2007]

90% < 45m


50% < 10m
8 wt.% remains
at 45m sieve

85C 20h

20

70

DimitriosPanias
etal.[2007]

D50 75m

oven 60C 72h

502h 60o
(paste)

13.3

41.3

D.M.J. Sumajaouw
[2007]

ASTM Class F

steam curing
60C 24h

100hm c
(concrete)

42

66

Keun-Hyeok Yang
etal.[2008]

Fineness: 4,200

234,C, 70200

5070200s
(mortar)

21.3

Hu Mingyu
et al.[2009]
J. Temuujin
etal.[2009]

20 wt.% remains
at 80m sieve
D50 6.8m
D50 14.4m

20C, RH 90%

10RH 90%
(mortar)
paste

7.7

36.9

85C for 8h, 7,


28,..., 180days
Rh>90%

70C

45
25

Materials, mix proportions and test method


Materials.The binders used in this study are raw fly ash (RFA) produced at the
Hadongthermoelectric station in Korea, milling fly ash (MFA) and ordinary Portland cement (OPC).
Table 2 summarizes the physicaland chemical properties of each binder. The adopted fly ash presents
a total content of 78.2% of SiO2and Al2O3, and has large content of reactive oxides that can be used
for the polymerization with a loss on ignition (L.O.I) of 3.2%.
Table 2.Physical and chemical properties of fly ash.
Items

SiO2
[%]

Al2O3
[%]

Fe2O3
[%]

CaO
[%]

MgO
[%]

SO3
[%]

L.O.I

Surface area
[cm2/g]

Density
[g/cm3]

RFA

53.0

25.2

9.2

3.0

1.3

0.6

3.2

3,489

2.19

MFA

51.7

24.1

9.6

3.1

1.8

0.8

3.3

6,169

2.19

OPC

21.0

6.4

3.1

61.3

3.0

2.3

1.4

3,413

3.15

Type of FA

The alkali-activator was mixed 1 day prior to the test as a reagent composed of NaOH9M with
purity higher than 98% and sodium silicate (Na2O =10%, SiO2=30%, solid powder = 38.5%, density
=1.39 g/cm3) and maintained in chemically stable state.
Crushed stone with specific gravity of 2.63 and maximum size of 19 mm is used as coarse
aggregate. Land sand with specific gravity of 2.63 is adopted as fine aggregate.Superplasticizerin
dark brown solution with 25% of naphthalene solid content commercialized by company D is used.
Mix Proportions.Table 3 lists the mix proportions used in this study. The mix corresponds to that
of concrete with design strength of 30 MPafabricated in common ready-mixed concrete factory where
cement is replaced by fly ash in weight ratio. In addition, alkali-activator is admixed to induce the
polymerization when fly ash is used as binder.
Vinyl was applied to seal the concrete specimens after placing to prevent evaporation. Air-dry
curing was performed during 24 hours at 233Cand humidity of 505%, followed by steam curing at
60C during 48 hours. The specimens were then disposed in a chamber at 23Cduring 48 hours until
stabilization and to prevent sudden thermal variation. Thereafter, the forms were stripped off and
each specimen was exposed to air dry condition of 23Cin a constant temperature and humidity
chamber before the test.

Advanced Materials Research Vol. 741

51

Table 3. Mix proportions (unit: kg/m3)


Type

L/B
[%]

S/a

B(Binder)
C
FA

L(Liquid)
Alkali-activator(9M)

S.P

RFA(1)

55

0.38

500

265

600

994

7.2

RFA(2)

58

0.40

360

208

687.7

1,047

7.2

MFA

55

0.38

500

265

600

994

7.2

OPC

46

0.48

877.6

938

6.6

330

146.3

Compressive Strength and Elastic Modulus.The compressive strength test was carried out in
compliance with KS F 2405 on100200 mm cylinders using a UTM with capacity of 3,000kN.
Loading was applied through displacement control at velocity of 0.1 mm/sec. The adopted
compressive strength corresponds to the average value of 3 concrete specimens per age. The elastic
modulus was measured in in compliance with KS F 2438 using 100200 mm cylinders. Three
LVDTs were disposed at angles of 120 to measure the compressive displacement.Eq. 1 expresses the
calculation formula for the elastic modulus. Fig. 1 illustrates the test layout for the measurement of
the compressive behavioral characteristics.

Fig. 1 Test layout for compressive strength and elastic modulus

S1 S 2
2 0.00005

(1)

whereE = elastic modulus (MPa); S1 = stress corresponding to a vertical deformation of 0.000050 cm


(MPa);S2 = stress corresponding to the maximum applied load (MPa); and, 2 = vertical strain
produced by the stress S2.
Test Results and Discussion
Compressive Strength and Elastic Modulus.Fig.2plots the compressive stress-strain curves for the
OPC and the cement-zero concrete obtained using the 100200 mm specimens. The failure strain of
the cement-zero concrete at the ultimate stress ranges between 0.0025 and 0.0035 and tends to
increase with larger compressive strength, which is similar to the compressive behavioral
characteristics of OPC. Moreover, the secant modulus corresponding to the slope of the line
connecting the origin to the stress at 40% of the failure load in the compressive stress-strain curve of
the cement-zero concrete is obtained by Eq. 1.

52

Materials and Nanotechnology in Engineering

Fig. 2Compressive stress-strain curve

Table 4 arranges the compressive strength and elastic modulus of concrete per age according to the
fineness of fly ash. The results reveal that the compressive strength at 3 days after steam curing
reaches respectively 25.8 MPa and 27.5 MPa for RFA and MFA, and that the corresponding elastic
modulus is 17.2 GPa and 17.5 GPa. This indicates that the initial compressive strength and elastic
modulus increase with higher fineness of fly ash. However, the compressive strength at 28 days of
RFA and MFA reaches respectively 31.2 MPa and 30.0 MPa and, the corresponding elastic modulus
is 19.1 GPa and 18.4 GPa. This observation shows that the improvement of the compressive strength
and elastic modulus by the fineness of fly ash practically disappears in a long-term.
Table 4. Compressive strength and elastic modulus for RFA and MFA concrete
Type

Curing days

RFA
(1,2)

3
14
28
56
3
14
28
56

MFA

Compressive strength
[MPa]
25.8
30.3
31.2
32.3
27.5
29.4
30.0
31

Test
17.2
18.8
19.1
22.1
17.5
18.2
18.4
20.5

Elastic modulus [GPa]


KCI
25.1
26.5
26.7
27.0
25.6
26.2
26.4
26.7

ACI 318
24.4
26.4
26.8
27.3
25.2
26.1
26.3
26.8

Besides, the elastic modulus of concrete is generally influenced by its compressive strength, unit
weight and the temperature. Accordingly, a model for the elastic modulus of concrete is calculated
using the compressive strength and unit weight suggested in the Korean concrete structural design
code (KCI, Eq. 2) and the ACI Building Code (ACI 318, Eq. 3).

Ec 0.077mc1.5 3 f cu

(2)

whereEc= secant elastic modulus (MPa); mc = unit weight (kgf/m3, = 2,300 kgf/m3for ordinary weight
concrete); fcu = mean compressive strength (MPa).

Ec 0.043wc1.5 f c

(3)

whereEc= secant elastic modulus (MPa); wc = unit weight (kgf/m3, = 2,320 kgf/m3for ordinary weight
concrete); fc = compressive strength (MPa).
Fig.3presents the relation between the compressive strength and elastic modulus of the
cement-zero concrete. It can be seen that slightly smaller elastic modulus is obtained than those
provided by KCI and ACI 318. Therefore, formulae for the elastic modulus of the geopolymer

Advanced Materials Research Vol. 741

53

concrete are suggested as expressed in Eqs. 4 and 5.The resulting values are practically in coincidence
as shown in Fig. 5. Accordingly, further study intends to suggest more reliable formulae for the
elastic modulus based on a larger data of elastic modulirelated to diverse geopolymer concretes.

Ec 0.055mc1.5 3 f cu

(4)

Ec 0.031wc1.5 3 f c

(5)

whereEc= secant elastic modulus (MPa); mc = unit weight (= 2,300 kgf/m3);wc = unit weight (= 2,320
kgf/m3);fcu = mean compressive strength (MPa); and, fc = compressive strength (MPa).

Fig. 3 Elastic modulus in terms of compressive strength

Conclusions
This study evaluated the mechanical properties of the compressive strength and elastic modulus of fly
ash-based geopolymer concrete as well as their relationin order to promote its wider application. The
results enable to draw the following conclusions.
The mechanical properties of concrete using three types of binder that are ordinary Portland
cement, raw fly ash and milling fly ash and fabricated using the mix proportions for a design strength
of 30 MPa in common ready-mixed concrete factory were investigated. The results showed that the
compressive strength and elastic modulus of the cement-zero concrete reached respectively 30.0
MPaand 19.1 GPa, which indicated that more than 90% of the strength was developed at early age. In
addition, a comparison of the geopolymer concrete with ordinary concrete revealed that the elastic
modulus related to the compressive strength was smaller, which enabled to suggest a relationship
between the compressive strength and the elastic modulus.
Acknowledgment
This study was carried out as the Power Generation & Electricity Delivery by supporting of the Korea
Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) and by funding of the Ministry of
Knowledge Economy, Korea. (Development & Commercialization of Green Construction Materials
utilizing High Volume Coal Combustion Products (Project No. 2011T100200271))

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Materials and Nanotechnology in Engineering

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Materials and Nanotechnology in Engineering


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Compressive Strength Properties of Fly Ash-Based Geopolymer Concrete


10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMR.741.49