Blast furnace slag (BFS)/sugar cane bagasse ash (SCBA) blends were assessed for the production of alkali-activated pastes and mortars. SCBA was collected from a lagoon in which wastes from a sugar cane industry were poured. After previous dry and grinding processes, SCBA was chemically characterized: it had a large percentage of organic matter (ca. 25%). Solutions of sodium hydroxide and sodium silicate were used as activating reagents. Different BFS/SCBA mixtures were studied, replacing part of the BFS by SCBA from 0 to 40% by weight. The mechanical strength of mortar was measured, obtaining values about 60 MPa of compressive strength for BFS/SCBA systems after 270 days of curing at 20 °C. Also, microstructural properties were assessed by means of SEM, TGA, XRD, pH, electrical conductivity, FTIR spectroscopy and MIP. Results showed a good stability of matrices developed by means of alkali-activation. It was demonstrated that sugar cane bagasse ash is an interesting source for preparing alkali-activated binders.
Keywords: alkali-activation; microstructure; slag replacement; strength development; sugar cane bagasse ash; waste valorization.