Recently, as a supplement of cement, the utilization of pozzolanic materials in cement and concrete manufacturing has increased significantly. This study investigates the scope to use pozzolanic wastes (slag, palm oil fuel ash and rice husk ash) as an alkali activated binder (AAB) that can be used as an alternative to cement. To activate these materials, sodium hydroxide solution was used at 1.0, 2.5 and 5.0 molar concentration added into the mortar, separately. The required solution was used to maintain the flow of mortar at 110% ± 5%. The consistency and setting time of the AAB-paste were determined. Mortar was tested for its flow, compressive strength, porosity, water absorption and thermal resistance (heating at 700 °C) and investigated by scanning electron microscopy. The experimental results reveal that AAB-mortar exhibits less flow than that of ordinary Portland cement (OPC). Surprisingly, AAB-mortars (with 2.5 molar solution) achieved a compressive strength of 34.3 MPa at 28 days, while OPC shows that of 43.9 MPa under the same conditions. Although water absorption and porosity of the AAB-mortar are slightly high, it shows excellent thermal resistance compared to OPC. Therefore, based on the test results, it can be concluded that in the presence of a chemical activator, the aforementioned pozzolans can be used as an alternative material for cement.
Keywords: alkali activated binder; alkaline activator; palm oil fuel ash; rice husk ash; slag.