Early Strength Development of Soft Clay Stabilized by One-Part Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag and Fly Ash-Based Geopolymer

Xiyao Zheng, Jun Wu
2021 Frontiers in Materials  
One-part or "just add water" geopolymer is a cementitious material, which is friendly to environment and users in applications. However, the mechanical behavior of the soft soil stabilized by one-part geopolymer is not well acknowledged. In this study, soft clay was stabilized with ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) and fly ash (FA)-based geopolymer, which is a mixture of solid aluminosilicate precursor (Al-Si raw materials: GGBFS and FA), solid alkali activator, and water. The
more » ... d water. The objective was to adopt one-part geopolymer as an alternative soil binder to completely replace ordinary Portland cement (OPC) for stabilizing the soft clay and evaluate the effect of the factors (i.e., GBFS/FA ratio in Al-Si precursor, activator/Al-Si precursor ratio, and water/binder ratio) that influenced the early strength. Results showed that the increase of the FA content in the Al-Si precursor increased the unconfined compressive strength (UCS) values significantly through the geopolymerization process. The highest UCS values were achieved with 90% GGBFS to 10% FA in the precursor when the activator/precursor and water/binder ratio is 0.15 and 0.7, respectively. The UCS values of geopolymer-stabilized clay could reach 1.5 MPa at 14 days at ambient temperature, which is much higher than that of OPC-stabilized clay. The microstructure and mineralogy analyses indicated that the prolific hydration products, such as calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H), calcium aluminum hydrate (C-A-H), and calcium aluminum silicate hydrate (C-A-S-H), contributed greatly to strengthen the soft clay by forming the soil skeleton and infilling among clay particles, while sodium aluminosilicate (N-A-S-H) gel is only served to fill the part of porosities in the soil and cannot effectively enhance the UCS of the one-part geopolymer-stabilized soft clay. This paper results suggested that one-part GGBFS-FA–based geopolymers have the potential to replace OPC in the manufacture of stabilized soft clay.
doi:10.3389/fmats.2021.616430 fatcat:chqyuirt2zaavlm2gpor3jxivq