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Strength and hydration properties of reactive MgO-activated ground granulated blastfurnace slag paste

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Gu, K 
Al-Tabbaa, A 


Ground granulated blastfurnace slag (GGBS) is widely used as a partial replacement for Portland cement or as the major component in the alkali-activated cement to give a clinker-free binder. In this study, reactive MgO is investigated as a potentially more practical and greener alternative as a GGBS activator. This paper focuses on of the hydration of GGBS, activated by two commercial reactive MgOs, with contents ranging from 2.5% to 20% up to 90 days. The hydration kinetics and products of MgO–GGBS blends were investigated by selective dissolution, thermogravimetric analysis, X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy techniques. It was found that reactive MgO was more effective than hydrated lime in activating the GGBS based on unconfined compressive strength and the efficiency increased with the reactivity and the content of the MgO. It is hence proposed that reactive MgO has the potential to serve as an effective and economical activator for GGBS.



Reactive magnesia, Slag, Hydrotalcite, Hydration, Strength, Microstructure

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Cement and Concrete Composites

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Elsevier BV
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M003159/1)
The authors are grateful to Cambridge Trust and China Scholarship Council (CSC) for their financial help of the PhD studentship for the first author.