Activation of Fly Ash through Nanomodification


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Title: Activation of Fly Ash through Nanomodification

Author(s): Shiho Kawashima, Pengkun Hou, Kejin Wang, David J. Corr, and Surendra P. Shah

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 294


Appears on pages(s): 1-12

Keywords: fly ash; nanoparticles; nanosilica; calcium carbonate; pozzolanic, microstructure; dispersion.

Date: 10/4/2013

Due to the high carbon emissions that result from cement production, it is desirable to limit the cement content of concrete to make it a more sustainable material. This is possible through substantial replacement of cement with supplementary materials, such as fly ash. The positive effects of this approach are twofold. First, reducing the cement content of concrete will reduce its carbon footprint. Second, fly ash is a coal combustion by-product, so essentially a waste material, which must be stored in landfills and enclosures if unused. Therefore, the productive use of fly ash by incorporating it into building materials at high volumes can help alleviate a waste storage issue. This paper is a summary of studies performed at the Center for Advanced Cement-Based Materials - Northwestern University, in collaboration with Iowa State University, relating to the activation of fly ash through nanomodification. Through seeding effects and increased reactivity, nanoparticles can accelerate cement hydration and subsequently the production of calcium hydroxide (CH), which can help activate the pozzolanic reaction of fly ash particles. Two types of nanoparticles are discussed in this summary paper: silica (SiO2) and calcium carbonate (CaCO3). The study on CaCO3 nanoparticles addresses the issue of dispersion, which is critical for nanomaterials, and the resultant effects on the hardening and early-age properties of fly ash-cement pastes. And the study on nano SiO2 focuses on determining the mechanisms underlying the effect of the pozzolanic nanoparticle on the early-age and long-term compressive strength gain of fly ash-cement mortars.