Mechanical properties of geopolymers synthesized from fly ash and red mud under ambient conditions

Nevin Koshy, Kunga Dondrob, Liming Hu, Qingbo Wen, Jay N. Meegoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Aluminosilicate gels form geopolymers and nanocrystalline zeolites which have comparable strength properties, making them a potential replacement for ordinary Portland cement. The study explores the use of two untreated industrial wastes, Class-F fly ash and red mud, for synthesizing geopolymeric material at ambient synthesis conditions. The high alkalinity present in the red mud was exploited for the dissolution of silica in the fly ash and red mud. The mechanical, mineralogical, microstructural, and pore characteristics were analyzed and the contributions of curing period, Si/Al, Na/Al, and liquid-to-solid (L/S) ratios on the compressive strength of the end products were also investigated. The alkalinity of the system due to the red mud was adequate for the dissolution of raw fly ash and the subsequent formation of aluminosilicate gels. The strength of the end product was directly proportional to the initial Si/Al ratio and the specimens with highest fly ash content exhibited highest compressive strength values after 28 days of curing. Furthermore, fly ash contributed to the formation and distribution of interstitial and capillary pores in the aluminosilicate matrix. The lowest L/S ratio of the initial mix resulted in the end product with the highest unconfined compressive strength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number572
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Inorganic Chemistry


  • Characterization
  • Fly ash
  • Geopolymer
  • Red mud
  • Unconfined compressive strength


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