Applying Mine Tailing and Fly Ash as Construction Materials for a Sustainable Development
Mining Geological & Geophysical Engineering
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractGeopolymerization has been considered as a new technology to replace the ordinary Portland cement in construction industry. It provides an option to manage the industry waste and byproducts like fly ash, mine tailings. At the same time, the CO₂ emissions can be reduced about 80% compared to that of ordinary Portland cement. The present research includes three main parts. First part is applying mine tailings as construction materials using geopolymerization method. The study is focused on efficiently activating mine tailings, reducing alkali consumption, decreasing curing time and improving compressive strength. We investigate the activation temperature effects, the impacts of additives and effects of forming pressures. The results show that a 40 MPa unconfined compressive strength (UCS) can be achieved with the geopolymerization samples after mine tailings are activated by sodium hydroxide at 170°C for 1 hour with the addition of calcium hydroxide and alkali dissolved aluminium oxide, further compressed with a 10 MPa forming pressure and finally cured at 90°C for 3 days. To elucidate the mechanism for the contribution of additives to geopolymerization, microscopic and spectroscopic techniques including scanning electron microscopy/ energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy are used to investigate the micro/nanostructure and the elemental and phase composition of geopolymerization specimens. The stress-strain behavior was also characterized. The results shows that the mechanical behavior is similar with that of concrete and the dynamic modulus is 22 GPa, which is comparable with that of concrete. The Young's modulus of geopolymer product was also calculated and the value is in the range of 2.9 to 9.3 GPa. The findings of the present work provide a novel method for the geopolymerization of mine tailings as construction materials. Second section is applying fly ash as a high strength water-resistant construction material. Through the present investigation, a procedure has been studied. The experiment results indicate that the concentration of NaOH, water content, and curing condition can significantly affect the mechanical property of geopolymer matrix. At the same time, the chemical composition, especially the Si/Al ratio and calcium content, is also an important factor during geopolymerization. XRD results show that the amorphous feature can be observed for both high and low calcium fly ash. It is the key of the success of geopolymerizaton due to its high reactivity. XRD, FTIR and SEM tests were performed to study how experiment conditions and the properties of fly ash affect geopolymerization. The obtained compressive strength of the geopolymerization product can reach above 100 MPa. The stress-strain behavior was also characterized. The results shows that the dynamic modulus is 36.5 GPa. The product obtained from the present work shows very high water resistance without losing any compressive strength even after a one month soaking time. Third part is applying the mixture of class C fly ash and mine tailings as construction materials. Through the present investigation, a protocol has been set up. The experiment results of the present work also help set up the working conditions such as activation temperature and time, the concentration of NaOH, the addition of Ca(OH)₂, forming pressure, mine tailing to class C fly ash weight ratio, curing temperature and curing time. To elucidate the mechanism for the contribution of additives to geopolymerization, microscopic and spectroscopic techniques such as SEM/EDX, X-ray diffraction and FTIR spectroscopy were used to investigate the micro/nanostructure and the elemental and phase composition of geopolymerization composite. The obtained compressive strength of the geopolymerization product can reach above 60 MPa. The stress-strain behavior of the geopolymer matrix of the mixture of mine tailing and fly ash were also characterized and the results show that the mechanical behavior is similar to that of concrete with a 24 GPa dynamic modulus. The Young's modulus of geopolymer product was also calculated and the value is in the range of 4.0 to 13.5 GPa. The findings of the present work provide a novel method for the geopolymerization of the mixture of mine tailings and class C fly ash as construction materials, such as bricks for construction and road pavement.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Mining Geological & Geophysical Engineering