Advances in near-neutral salts activation of blast furnace slags
Keywords:Alkali-activation, Blast furnace slag, sodium carbonate, Sodium sulfate, Characterisation
The utilisation of near-neutral salts as activators to produce alkali-activated slag cements offers several technical advantages, including reduced alkalinity of the binders, minimising the risk associated with handling of highly alkaline materials, and better workability of the fresh paste compared to that of sodium silicate-activated slag cements. Despite these evident advantages, the delayed setting and slow early-age mechanical strength development of these cements have limited their adoption and commercialisation. Recent studies have demonstrated that these limitations can be overcome by selecting slags with chemistry which is more prone to react with near-neutral salts, or by adding mineral additives. A brief overview of the most recent advances in alkali-activation of slags using either sodium carbonate or sodium sulfate as activators is reported, highlighting the role of material design parameters in the kinetics of reaction and phase evolution of these cements, as well as the perspectives for research and development of these materials.
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