One-Part Alkali-Activated Slag Cement for Conservation of Existing Structures


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Title: One-Part Alkali-Activated Slag Cement for Conservation of Existing Structures

Author(s): Luigi Coppola, Denny Coffetti, and Elena Crotti

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 330


Appears on pages(s): 107-122

Keywords: alkali-activated materials; ground-granulated blast-furnace slag; cement-free mortars; activator/precursor ratio; sustainability; gross energy requirement; global warming potential.

Date: 9/26/2018

Since replacement of portland cement by other cementations materials is one of the main strategies to reduce the environmental impact of cementitious mixture, several innovative portland-free binders have been investigated. This paper is aimed to study a ground granulated blast furnace slag (precursor) activated with a mixture in powder form (activator) of sodium metasilicate pentahydrate, potassium hydroxide and sodium carbonate to manufacture portland-free mortars for conservation, restoration and retrofitting of existing masonry buildings and concrete structures. Several activator/precursor combinations (2%-32% by mass) were used to investigate the effect of alkali activation on the rheological, elastic and physical performances of repair mortars. The experimental data show that by changing the activator/precursor combination it is possible to “tailor” the 28-day compressive strength of the mortar. The activator dosage represents the key parameter influencing not only mechanical performance but also the hydraulic shrinkage: the higher the activator dosage, the more pronounced the mortar shrinkage. Shrinkage values for alkali-activated mortars (AAM) are significantly higher (2000 – 4000 ∙ 10-6) compared with those of cement-based mortars with the same compressive strength. Consequently, a reduction of shrinkage by means of shrinkage reducing (SRA) and/or water retention admixtures is necessary. However, although shrinkage is very high, the modulus of elasticity is about 40% lower than that of a portland cement mortar of the same strength level. On the basis of the experimental data AAMs seem to be more promising for a sustainable future in construction since the GER (Gross Energy Requirement) and GWP (Global Warming Potential) are dramatically reduced by 80 - 90% and 70 - 80%, respectively compared with traditional portland cement mortars with the same compressive strength.