Geotechnical and Geological Engineering

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 129–137 | Cite as

Fabrication of Geopolymers from Untreated Kaolin Clay for Construction Purposes

  • Naim M. Faqir
  • Reyad ShawabkehEmail author
  • Mamdouh Al-Harthi
  • Hamad Abdul Wahhab
Original Paper


A new geopolymeric material has been fabricated from local Saudi Arabian resources using inorganic mineral polymerization technique. In this technique, the mineral polymer is synthesized from the following components: naturally occurring kaolin clay mineral, silica sand, sodium hydroxide, and water. Homogeneous samples of known amounts of clay minerals and silica sand were mixed with different ratios of clay and sand and sodium hydroxide solutions ranging from 13 to 19.7 mol/l. To accelerate the chemical polymerization reaction, the molded reactants were cured at 80 °C in an oven for 24 h to form stable and hard geopolymeric material. The synthesis parameters of mass of clay mineral, sand, NaOH and water were varied according to a statistical analysis design of experiment. The optimum amount of water is limited by the plastic limit of the clay, which is determined to be around 25%. Based on the results of the experimental design a geoploymer with a compressive strength of 27.1 MPa was achieved by sand to kaolin ratio of 1.5, water to kaolin ratio of 0.25 and NaOH to kaolin ratio of 0.17 under dry conditions and 18.1 MPa under wet conditions.


Kaolin Geopolymers TGA XRD Construction Minerals 



The authors would like to acknowledge the support provided by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) through the Science and Technology Unit at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) for funding this work through Project No. 11-ADV2131-04 as part of the National Science, Technology and Innovation Plan”.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naim M. Faqir
    • 1
  • Reyad Shawabkeh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mamdouh Al-Harthi
    • 2
  • Hamad Abdul Wahhab
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of JordanAmmanJordan
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringKing Fahd University of Petroleum and MineralsDhahranSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringKing Fahd University Petroleum and MineralsDhahranSaudi Arabia

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