AbstractThis paper aims to assess the durability of one-part geopolymer (OPG) pastes exposed to acidic environments. Two different acids (HCl and H2SO4) with different pH values (pH of 2, 4, and 6) were used to simulate the acidic environment in the current study. Acid resistance of the OPG paste activated by sodium hydroxide [NaOH (NH)] and sodium metasilicate [Na2SiO3 (NS)], respectively, was assessed in terms of pH variation, mass change, visual appearance, deterioration depth, and compressive strength loss for varied immersion periods (∼120  days). The scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDS) and mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP) tests were employed to investigate the evolution of porosity, morphological change, and hydrate composition for the varied immersion times. The experimental results revealed that due to the formation of a dense structure, the NS-activated OPG paste had better resistance to the acid attack compared with the NH-activated paste. It was also found that the gypsum crystals formed in the sample immersed in H2SO4 solution could fill the open pores and adhere to the surface of the sample, which reduced the further acid attack to some extent. However, the expansion properties of gypsums would lead to a loss of mechanical performance at the later immersion period. Furthermore, higher porosity of the OPG paste developed as the pH value of the acid solution decreased, thereby inducing the loss of mass and compressive strength and the increase of deterioration depth. Finally, as the immersion age and acid concentration increased, decalcification in the sample tended to occur, which caused a greater loss of compressive strength and a higher porosity. The outcome of this study could provide guidance for the application of the novel material in acid soil layer improvements or acid-resistant geotechnical structures.

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