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Particle size manipulation as an influential parameter in the development of mechanical properties in electric arc furnace slag-based AAM
Katja Traven, Mark Češnovar, Vilma Ducman, 2019, izvirni znanstveni članek

Povzetek: Alkali-activated materials (AAM) have gained recognition as a promising alternative to technical ceramic and building materials owing to the lower energy demands for production and the potential to use slag as a precursor. In the present study, five sets of slag-based AAM pastes were prepared with different particle sizes (fractions d < 63, 63 < d < 90, and 90 < d < 125 μm in different mass ratios) under the same curing regime and using a fixed precursor to activator (water) mass ratio. Precursors and the hardened AAM are evaluated using BET, XRD, XRF, SEM, FTIR, reactivity of precursors by leaching, and mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP). Chemical analysis indicated only marginal differences among the different-sized fractions of input materials, whereas the BET surface area and reactivity among the precursors differed significantly-smaller particles had the largest surface area, and thus, higher reactivity. The mineralogical differences between the precursors and hardened AAM were negligible. The results revealed that compressive strength was significantly influenced by particle size, i.e., a threefold increase in strength when the particle size was halved. Microstructural evaluation using MIP confirmed that the porosity was the lowest in AAM with the smallest particle size. The low porosity and high reactivity of the fine fractions led to the highest compressive strength, confirming that manipulation of particle size can significantly influence the mechanical properties.
Ključne besede: alkalijsko aktivirani materiali, žlindra iz obločne peči, mehanska aktivacija, mehanske lastnosti, poroznost, alkali-activated materials (AAM), electric arc furnace steel slag, mechanical activation, mechanical properties, porosity
Objavljeno v DiRROS: 22.11.2023; Ogledov: 48; Prenosov: 27
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The potential of ladle slag and electric arc furnace slag use in synthesizing alkali activated materials; the influence of curing on mechanical properties
Mark Češnovar, Katja Traven, Barbara Horvat, Vilma Ducman, 2019, izvirni znanstveni članek

Povzetek: Alkali activation is studied as a potential technology to produce a group of high performance building materials from industrial residues such as metallurgical slag. Namely, slags containing aluminate and silicate form a useful solid material when activated by an alkaline solution. The alkali-activated (AA) slag-based materials are promising alternative products for civil engineering sector and industrial purposes. In the present study the locally available electric arc furnace steel slag (Slag A) and the ladle furnace basic slag (Slag R) from different metallurgical industries in Slovenia were selected for alkali activation because of promising amorphous Al/Si rich content. Different mixtures of selected precursors were prepared in the Slag A/Slag R ratios 1/0, 3/1, 1/1, 1/3 and 0/1 and further activated with potassium silicate using an activator to slag ratio of 1:2 in order to select the optimal composition with respect to their mechanical properties. Bending strength of investigated samples ranged between 4 and 18 MPa, whereas compressive strength varied between 30 and 60 MPa. The optimal mixture (Slag A/Slag R = 1/1) was further used to study strength development under the influence of different curing temperatures at room temperature (R. T.), and in a heat-chamber at 50, 70 and 90 °C, and the effects of curing time for 1, 3, 7 and 28 days was furthermore studied. The influence of curing time at room temperature on the mechanical strength at an early age was found to be nearly linear. Further, it was shown that specimens cured at 70 °C for 3 days attained almost identical (bending/compressive) strength to those cured at room temperature for 28 days. Additionally, microstructure evaluation of input materials and samples cured under different conditions was performed by means of XRD, FTIR, SEM and mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP).
Ključne besede: alkali activation, slag, influence of curing regime, FTIR
Objavljeno v DiRROS: 13.09.2023; Ogledov: 124; Prenosov: 70
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Evaluation of locally available amorphous waste materials as a source for alternative alkali activators
Katja Koenig, Katja Traven, Majda Pavlin, Vilma Ducman, 2021, izvirni znanstveni članek

Povzetek: The production of alkali-activated materials with excellent mechanical performance requires the use of waterglass, which has a significant carbon footprint. Such materials can have a lower carbon footprint if we replace water glass with alternative activators sourced from waste. In this study, we assessed the suitability of locally available amorphous waste materials (stone wool, glass wool, bottle glass and cathode-ray tube glass) as a source for the preparation of alternative alkali activators. We quantified the amount of silicon and aluminium dissolved in the activator solutions via inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry. The alternative activators were then used to produce alkali-activated fly ash and slag. The compressive strength values of alkali-activated fly ash specimens upon the addition of NaOH, water glass and the most promising alternative activator were 38.98 MPa, 31.34 MPa and 40.37 MPa, respectively. The compressive strength of slag specimens activated with alternative activators with the highest concentration of dissolved silicon (21 g/L) was, however, 70% higher than the compressive strength of slag specimens activated with only 10 M sodium hydroxide. The compressive strength of slag specimens with the addition of the most promising alternative activator was significantly lower (3.5 MPa) than the compressive strength of those that had been activated by commercial water glass (34.3 MPa).
Ključne besede: alkalijsko aktivirani materiali, alternativni aktivatorji, lastnosti, alkali activated materials/geopolimers, alternative activators, properties
Objavljeno v DiRROS: 22.08.2023; Ogledov: 108; Prenosov: 87
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High temperature resistant fly-ash and metakaolin-based alkali-activated foams
Katja Traven, Mark Češnovar, Srečo D. Škapin, Vilma Ducman, 2021, izvirni znanstveni članek

Povzetek: Alkali-activated foams (AAFs) present one of the most promising materials for use in the construction sector. Their main advantages lie in their utilization of waste material and their ability to form at temperatures well below 100 °C, while still competing in performance with foamed glass or ceramics. The present body of research has focused on improving the thermal stability of fly-ash foams by i) adding metakaolin, and ii) changing the activator from sodium-based to potassium-based components. It has been confirmed that a certain increase in thermal resistance is achieved through the addition of metakaolin while changing activators played a crucial role. While sodium-based AAFs without metakaolin start to shrink at approximately 600 °C, samples that have had metakaolin added start to shrink at approximately 700 °C. Samples without metakaolin that have used a potassium activator start to shrink at approximately 800 °C, whereas potassium-based samples with the addition of metakaolin start to shrink at approximately 900 °C.
Ključne besede: alkali activated materials, geopolymers, high temperature, resistance, foams
Objavljeno v DiRROS: 01.08.2023; Ogledov: 124; Prenosov: 99
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The deformation of alkali-activated materials at an early age under different curing conditions
Mark Češnovar, Katja Traven, Vilma Ducman, 2021, izvirni znanstveni članek

Povzetek: The production of alkali-activated materials (AAMs) is known for its environmentally friendly processing method, where several amorphous-rich aluminosilicate material sources combine with an alkali media solution to form solid, ceramic-like materials. In terms of the Si:Al, Na(K):Al, and Na(K):H2O ratios, the theory of AAM formation is quite well developed, but some open questions in the technology process remain, especially with regards to the means of curing, where the generation of defects can be persistent. Knowing that deformation is extremely high in the early ages, this study investigates the effects of temperature and moisture on shrinkage behavior within the first 72 h of AA pastes made from ladle (LS) and electric arc furnace (EAF) slag and activated by sodium silicate (Na2SiO3). The method to determine the deformation of alkali-activated slag-based materials, in terms of both autogenous and drying shrinkage, was based on the modified ASTM C1698-19 standard for the measurement of autogenous shrinkage in cement pastes. Autogenous deformation and strain were measured in four samples, using the standard procedure at room temperature, 40 and 60°C. Furthermore, using an adjusted method, nine samples were characterized for strain and partial surface pressure, while drying at room temperature, 40, or 60°C at a relative humidity of 30 or 90%. The results show that the highest rate of autogenous shrinkage occurred at a temperature of 60°C, followed by drying shrinkage at 60°C and 30% relative humidity, owing to the fact that the rate of evaporation was highest at this moisture content. The study aimed to provide guidance regarding selection of the optimal curing set in order to minimize deformations in slag-based alkali-activated materials. In the present case, curing at a temperature of around 40°C under lower moisture conditions for the first 24 h provided optimal mechanical properties for the slags investigated. The methodology might also be of use for other aluminosilicate sources such as metakaolin, fly ash, and mineral wool–based alkali-activated materials.
Ključne besede: alkali-activated materials, slag, drying, autogenous shrinkage, partial surface pressure, curing deformation
Objavljeno v DiRROS: 03.07.2023; Ogledov: 195; Prenosov: 76
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Environmental and biological impact of fly ash and metakaolin-based alkali-activated foams obtained at 70°C and Fired at 1,000°C
Cristina Leonelli, Janez Turk, Giovanni Dal Poggetto, Michelina Catauro, Katja Traven, Alenka Mauko Pranjić, Vilma Ducman, 2022, izvirni znanstveni članek

Povzetek: Alkali-activated foams (AAFs) are inorganic porous materials that can be obtained at temperatures well below 100° C with the use of inorganic wastes as aluminosilicate precursors. In this case, fly ash derived from a Slovenian power plant has been investigated. Despite the environmental benefits per se, due to saving of energy and virgin materials, when using waste materials, it is of extreme importance to also evaluate the potential leaching of heavy metal cations from the alkali-activated foams. This article presents an environmental study of a porous geopolymer derived from this particular fly ash, with respect to the leachability of potentially hazardous elements, its environmental toxicity as determined by biological testing, and the environmental impact of its production. In particular, attention was focused to investigate whether or not 1,000 °C-fired alkali- activated fly ash and metakaolin-based foams, cured at 70 °C, are environmentally friendlier options compared to unfired ones, and attempts to explain the rationale of the results were done. Eventually, the firing process at 1,000 ° C, apart from improving technical performance, could reinforce heavy metal cation entrapment within the aluminosilicate matrix. Since technical performance was also modified by addition of different types of activators (K-based or Na-based), as well as by partial replacement of fly ash with metakaolin, a life cycle assessment (LCA) analysis was performed to quantify the effect of these additions and processes (curing at 70 ° C and firing at 1,000 °C) in terms of global warming potential. Selected samples were also evaluated in terms of leaching of potentially deleterious elements as well as for the immobilization effect of firing. The leaching test indicated that none of the alkali-activated material is classified as hazardous, not even the as-received fly ash as component of new AAF. All of the alkali-activated foams do meet the requirements for an inertness. The highest impact on bacterial colonies was found in samples that did not undergo firing procedures, i.e., those that were cured at 70 °C, which induced the reduction of bacterial Enterococcus faecalis viability. The second family of bacteria tested, Escherichia coli, appeared more resistant to the alkaline environment (pH = 10–12) generated by the unfired AAMs. Cell viability recorded the lowest value for unfired alkali-activated materials produced from fly ash and K-based activators. Its reticulation is only partial, with the leachate solution appearing to be characterized with the most alkaline pH and with the highest ionic conductivity, i.e., highest number of soluble ions. By LCA, it has been shown that 1) changing K-based activators to Na-based activators increases environmental impact of the alkali-activated foams by 1%–4% in terms of most of the impact categories (taking into account the production stage). However, in terms of impact on abiotic depletion of elements and impact on ozone layer depletion, the increase is relatively more significant (11% and 18%, respectively); 2) replacing some parts of fly ash with metakaolin also results in relatively higher environmental footprint (increase of around 1%–4%, while the impact on abiotic depletion of elements increases by 14%); and finally, 3) firing at 1,000°C contributes significantly to the environmental footprint of alkali- activated foams. In such a case, the footprint increases by around one third, compared to the footprint of alkali-activated foams produced at 70 ° C. A combination of LCA and leaching/toxicity behavior analysis presents relevant combinations, which can provide information about long-term environmental impact of newly developed waste-based materials.
Ključne besede: alkali activated materials, geopolimers, leaching, LCA
Objavljeno v DiRROS: 20.06.2023; Ogledov: 178; Prenosov: 84
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Microstructural characterization of alkali-activated composites of lightweight aggregates (LWAs) embedded in alkali-activated foam (AAF) matrices
Katja Traven, Wolfgang Wisniewski, Mark Češnovar, Vilma Ducman, 2022, izvirni znanstveni članek

Povzetek: Alkali-activated composites of lightweight aggregates (LWAs, with beneficial insulating properties) and alkali-activated foams (AAFs, higher added value products due to their production from waste materials at well below 100 ◦C) allow for the expectation of superior properties if a chemical bonding reaction or mechanical interlocking occurs during production. However, the interfaces between LWAs and an AAF have not been studied in detail so far. Chemical reactions are possible if the LWA contains an amorphous phase which can react with the alkaline activators of the AAF, increase the bonding, and thus, also their mechanical strengths. These, in turn, allow for an improvement of the thermal insulation properties as they enable a further density reduction by incorporating low density aggregates. This work features a first-detailed analyses of the interfaces between the LWAs’ expanded polystyrene, perlite, expanded clay and expanded glass, and the alkali-activated foam matrices produced using industrial slags and fly ash. Some are additionally reinforced by fibers. The goal of these materials is to replace cement by alkali-activated waste as it significantly lowers the environmental impact of the produced building components.
Ključne besede: alkali activated materials/geopolymers, light weight aggregates, SEM
Objavljeno v DiRROS: 20.06.2023; Ogledov: 227; Prenosov: 117
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Antibacterial properties and cytotoxicity of 100% waste derived alkali activated materials : slags and stone wool-based binders
Caterina Sgarlata, Giovanni Dal Poggetto, Federica Piccolo, Michelina Catauro, Katja Traven, Mark Češnovar, Hoang Nguyen, Juho Yliniemi, Luisa Barbieri, Vilma Ducman, Isabella Lancellotti, Cristina Leonelli, 2021, izvirni znanstveni članek

Povzetek: In this study we compare the leaching behavior and the antibacterial and cytotoxic properties of 100% slag or stone wool derived alkali activated materials. The antibacterial activity was measured as the inhibiting capacity against two Gram- negative bacterial strains, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and one Gram-positive bacterial strain: Enterococcus faecalis. The cytotoxicity properties were tested on mouse embryonic fibroblast NIH-3T3 cell-line. It was proved that the high quality of the 3D aluminosilicate network of the consolidated materials obtained from powders of CaO or MgO-rich slags or stone wool, opportunely activated with NaO and/or Na-silicate, was capable of stabilizing heavy metal cations. The concentrations of leachate heavy cations were lower than the European law limit when tested in water. The effect of additives in the composites, basal fibers or nanocellulose, did not reduce the chemical stability and slightly influenced the compressive strength. Weight loss in water increased by 20% with basalt fibers addition, while it remained almost constant when nanocellulose was added. All the consolidated materials, cement-like in appearance, exhibited limited antibacterial properties (viability from 50 to 80% depending on the bacterial colony and the amount of sample) and absence of cytotoxicity, envisaging good acceptance from part of the final consumer and zero ecological impact. CaO-rich formulations can replace ordinary Portland cement (showing bacterial viability at 100%) with a certain capability for preventing the reproduction of the E. coli and S. aureus bacteria with health and environmental protection results.
Ključne besede: antibacterial properties, cytotoxicity, alkali-activated materials, slag, stone wool, waste utilization, social acceptance
Objavljeno v DiRROS: 22.05.2023; Ogledov: 203; Prenosov: 101
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Alkali activation of metallurgical slags : reactivity, chemical behavior, and environmental assessment
Isabella Lancellotti, Federica Piccolo, Katja Traven, Mark Češnovar, Vilma Ducman, Cristina Leonelli, 2021, izvirni znanstveni članek

Povzetek: Alkali-activated materials (AAMs) represent a promising alternative to conventional building materials and ceramics. Being produced in large amounts as aluminosilicate-rich secondary products, such as slags, they can be utilized for the formulation of AAMs. Slags are partially crystalline metallurgical residues produced during the high temperature separation of metallic and non-metallic materials in the steelmaking processes. In the present study, the electric arc furnace carbon or stainless steel slag (EAF) and secondary metallurgical slag such as ladle furnace basic slag (LS) were used as precursors in an alkali-activation process. EAF slag, with its amorphous fraction of about 56%, presented higher contents of soluble Si and Al species with respect to ladle slag R (35%). However, both are suitable to produce AAM. The leaching behavior shows that all the release values are below the regulation limit. All the bivalent ions (Ba, Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn) are well immobilized in a geopolymeric matrix, while amphoteric elements, such as As and Cr, show a slight increase of release with respect to the corresponding slag in alkaline and aqueous environments. In particular, for Sb and As of AAM, release still remains below the regulation limits, while Mo presents an increase of leaching values that slightly exceeds the limit for landfill non-dangerous waste.
Ključne besede: slag, aluminosilicate materials, chemical reactivity, cold consolidation, alkali activation, leaching test, open access
Objavljeno v DiRROS: 22.05.2023; Ogledov: 205; Prenosov: 102
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