This research examines an alternative binder, Alkali Activated Cement (AAC), examining the fresh and hardened mechanical properties of twelve AAC mortar mixes with varying mixture proportions of blast-furnace slag, fly ash, sodium silicate (the alkali activator), and additional water. In addition to the Slag-Fly Ash mortars, nine mixtures with blast-furnace slag, silica fume, aluminum hydrate, sodium silicate, and water were tested. For all mortars, the compressive strength was exponentially related to the water/activator-solids ratio. Mortar strengths at 28 days ranged from 5 MPa to 20 MPa. Increasing the slag to binder-solids ratio from 0.1 to 0.2 increased the strength with water to binder ratios from 0.2 to 0.4. However, rapid or almost instantaneous setting times were observed for a slag to binder-solids ratio of 0.2. The research concluded that using a carefully chosen mix design can prevent quick setting while still achieving high strength and acceptable workability. It is suggested the CaO to binder-solids ratio remain below 0.07; a sodium silicate to binder solids ratio of around 0.25 is optimal; a water to binder-solids ratio should be around 0.3. When replacing fly ash, a Si/Al ratio above 2 is recommended. This research concluded that other solids (Silica Fume and Aluminum Hydrate) could replace Slag and/or Fly Ash if the overall chemical balance of the system is maintained.
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