Publication date: November 2016
Source:Cement and Concrete Research, Volume 89
Author(s): Kai Gong, Claire E. White
The influence of ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS) chemical variability on phase formation in sodium hydroxide-activated GGBS pastes has been investigated using X-ray total scattering and subsequent pair distribution function (PDF) analysis. Crystalline phase identification based on reciprocal space analysis reveals that despite large chemical variations in the neat GGBSs the secondary reaction products are quite similar, with the majority of pastes containing a hydrotalcite-like phase. However, PDF analysis reveals considerable differences in short range atomic ordering of the main calcium-sodium aluminosilicate hydrate (C-(N)-A-S-H) gel phase in the pastes. Quantitative analysis of these local structural differences in conjunction with published PDF data identifies the important role calcium plays in dictating the atomic structure of disordered silicate-rich phases in cementitious materials. This study serves as a crucial step forward in linking GGBS chemistry with phase formation in alkali-activated GGBS pastes, revealing key information on the local structure of highly-disordered cementitious materials.