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Ambient cured fly ash geopolymer coatings for concrete

Biondi, L. and Perry, M. and Vlachakis, C. and Wu, Z. and Hamilton, A. and McAlorum, J. (2019) Ambient cured fly ash geopolymer coatings for concrete. Materials, 16 (6). ISSN 1996-1944

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The reinforced concrete structures that support transport, energy and urban networks in developed countries are over half a century old, and are facing widespread deterioration. Geopolymers are an affordable class of materials that have promising applications in concrete structure coating, rehabilitation and sensing, due to their high chloride, sulphate, fire and freeze-thaw resistances and electrolytic conductivity. Work to date has, however, mainly focused on geopolymers that require curing at elevated temperatures, and this limits their ease of use in the field, particularly in cooler climates. Here, we outline a design process for fabricating ambient-cured fly ash geopolymer coatings for concrete substrates. Our technique is distinct from previous work as it requires no additional manufacturing steps or additives, both of which can bear significant costs. Our coatings were tested at varying humidities, and the impacts of mixing and application methods on coating integrity were compared using a combination of calorimetry, x-ray diffraction and image-processing techniques. This work could allow geopolymer coatings to become a more ubiquitous technique for updating ageing concrete infrastructure so that it can meet modern expectations of safety, and shifting requirements due to climate change.