Mechanical properties and microstructure analysis of fly ash geopolymeric recycled concrete

X. S. Shi, F. G. Collins, X. L. Zhao, Q. Y. Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

134 Citations (Scopus)


Six mixtures with different recycled aggregate (RA) replacement ratios of 0%, 50% and 100% were designed to manufacture recycled aggregate concrete (RAC) and alkali-activated fly ash geopolymeric recycled concrete (GRC). The physical and mechanical properties were investigated indicating different performances from each other. Optical microscopy under transmitted light and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) were carried out in this study in order to identify the mechanism underlying the effects of the geopolymer and RA on concrete properties. The features of aggregates, paste and interfacial transition zone (ITZ) were compared and discussed. Experimental results indicate that using alkali-activated fly ash geopolymer as replacement of ordinary Portland cement (OPC) effectively improved the compressive strength. With increasing of RA contents in both RAC and GRC, the compressive strength decreased gradually. The microstructure analysis shows that, on one hand, the presence of RA weakens the strength of the aggregates and the structure of ITZs; on the other hand, due to the alkali-activated fly ash in geopolymer concrete, the contents of Portlandite (Ca(OH)2) and voids were reduced, as well as improved the matrix homogeneity. The microstructure of GRC was changed by different reaction products, such as aluminosilicate gel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-29
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Alkali-activated
  • Compressive strength
  • Fly ash
  • Recycled aggregate
  • SEM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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