Future perspectives for alkali-activated materials: from existing standards to structural applications
Keywords:Alkali-activated materials, Long-term performance, Real-scale applications, Performance-based standards, Sustainable construction
The production of cement and concrete contributes significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions. Alkali-activated concretes (AACs) are a family of existing alternative construction materials that could reduce the current environmental impact of Portland cement (PC) production and utilisation. Successful applications of AACs can be found in Europe and the former USSR since the 1950s and more recently in Australia, China and North America, proving their potential as construction materials. However, their utilisation is limited presently by the lack of normative and construction guidelines. Raw materials’ non-uniform global availability and variable intrinsic properties, coupled with the lack of specific testing methods, raise questions regarding reproducibility and reliability. The mechanical and chemical behaviour of AACs has been investigated extensively over the past decades, strengthening its potential as a sustainable substitute for traditional PC-based concrete. Although a wide amount of studies demonstrated that AACs could meet and even exceed the performance requirements provided by European design standards, a classification of these broad spectra of materials, as well as new analytical models linking the chemistry of the system components to the mechanical behaviour of the material, still need further development. This report gives an overview of the potential of alkali-activated systems technology, focusing on the limitations and challenges still hindering their standardisation and wider application in the construction field.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Laura Rossi, Luiz Miranda de Lima, Yubo Sun, Frank Dehn, John Provis, Guang Ye, Geert De Schutter
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