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Title: Use of Metakaolin and Slag Geopolymer Adhesives for Fixing Tiles

Author(s): Joseph Jean Assaad and Marianne Saba

Publication: Materials Journal



Appears on pages(s):

Keywords: blast furnace slag; bond strength; ceramic tiles; geopolymer; metakaolin; polymer-modified mortar; thixotropy

DOI: 10.14359/51740702

Date: 3/15/2024

This paper assesses the suitability of geopolymers (GPs) for use as adhesives for ceramic tile fixing, including their compliance to relevant EN 12004 specifications. Two series prepared with different percentages of metakaolin (MK), blast furnace slag (BFS), and limestone materials activated by an alkaline NaOH/Na2SiO3 solution are investigated. Tested properties included the thixotropy, setting, compressive strength, open time, and adhesion bond strength under different exposure conditions (i.e., dry, wet, heat, or freeze/thaw cycles). Compared to cement-based mortars containing adjusted proportions of cellulose and redispersible polymers, the GPs exhibited higher thixotropy reflecting additional energy for spreading the material over the substrate, yet better maintaining of the alternating patterns of ripples and grooves at rest. The bond strengths tested under different exposure conditions were remarkably high for the MK-based GP, given the fine MK particle sizes that foster geopolymerization and cross-linking of solid bonds in the hardened structure. The BFS-based GP exhibited relatively lower bond strengths (compared to MK) due to coarser particles. Such results can be of interest to civil engineers and manufacturers of ready-to-use building materials that aim at reducing the Portland cement footprint while assuring the performance and sustainability of tiling applications.