Prediction of effective properties of fly ash-based geopolymers

Sumanta Das, Pu Yang, Sudhanshu S. Singh, James C.E. Mertens, Xianghui Xiao, Nikhilesh Chawla, Narayanan Neithalath

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


A detailed microstructural and micromechanical study of a fly ash-based geopolymer paste including: (i) synchrotron x-ray tomography (XRT) to characterize the pores (size > 0.74 µm) that are influential in fluid transport, (ii) mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP) to capture the volume fraction of smaller pores, (iii) high resolution scanning electron microscopy (SEM) combined with a multi-label thresholding method to identify and characterize the solid phases in the microstructure, and (iv) nanoindentation to determine the component phase elastic properties using statistical deconvolution techniques, is reported in this paper. The 3D pore structure from XRT is used in a computational fluid transport model to predict the permeability of the material. The pore volume from XRT, solid phase volumes from SEM, and the phase elastic properties are used in a numerical homogenization framework to determine the homogenized macroscale elastic modulus of the composite. The homogenized elastic moduli are in good agreement with the flexural elastic modulus determined on macroscale paste beams. It is shown that the combined use of microstructural and micromechanical characterization tools at multiple scales provides valuable information towards the material design of fly ash-based geopolymers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNanotechnology for Improved Concrete Performance
EditorsMahmoud Reda Taha, Mohamed T. Bassuoni
PublisherAmerican Concrete Institute
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781641950763
StatePublished - Oct 9 2019
EventNanotechnology for Improved Concrete Performance at the Concrete Convention and Exposition 2016 - Philadelphia, United States
Duration: Oct 23 2016Oct 27 2016

Publication series

NameAmerican Concrete Institute, ACI Special Publication
ISSN (Print)0193-2527


ConferenceNanotechnology for Improved Concrete Performance at the Concrete Convention and Exposition 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Geopolymers
  • Homogenization
  • Microstructure
  • Nanoindentation
  • Synchrotron Tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science


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