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Quantitative Characterization of Fly Ash Reactivity for use in Geopolymer Cements



Paul E. Stutzman


The ability to characterize the reactivity of fly ashes is an essential part of making use of this aluminosilicate-rich waste product in geopolymer binders. Most fly ash reactivity investigations only consider the bulk reactivity of the ash because of incomplete information on the constituent phases. This study used a new method for characterizing fly ash and the resulting geopolymer reaction products that combines Rietveld quantitative x-ray diffraction (RQXRD) and scanning electron microscopy coupled with multispectral image analysis (SEM-MSIA) to quantitatively characterize both crystalline and glassy phases. The combined information from these methods gives quantitative mass fractions of each independent crystalline and glassy phase in any material analyzed, including unreacted fly ash, partially reacted fly ash, and geopolymer reaction products. The method was used in the present study for characterizing fly ashes prior to alkali-activation and to identify the reaction products formed in a geopolymer paste. The different phases in fly ash were shown to react differently in the alkaline environment required for geopolymerization.
Conference Dates
July 3-8, 2011
Conference Location
Conference Title
13th International Congress on the Chemistry of Cement


geopolymer, fly ash, SEM


Stutzman, P. (2011), Quantitative Characterization of Fly Ash Reactivity for use in Geopolymer Cements, 13th International Congress on the Chemistry of Cement, madrid, -1, [online], (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created June 14, 2011, Updated September 4, 2020