Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 608–619 | Cite as

Microscopy and microanalysis of inorganic polymer cements. 1: remnant fly ash particles

  • Redmond R. Lloyd
  • John L. ProvisEmail author
  • Jannie S. J. van Deventer


Accurate and precise electron microscopic analysis of the remnant solid precursor (fly ash and blast furnace slag) particles embedded in an inorganic polymer cement (or “fly ash geopolymer”) provides critical information regarding the process of gel binder formation. Differential solubility of phases in the fly ash is seen to be important, with insoluble mullite crystals becoming exposed by the retreat of the surrounding glassy phases. High-iron particles appear to remain largely unreacted, and the use of sectioned and polished specimens provides a view of the inside of these particles, which can show a wide variety of phase separation morphologies and degrees of intermixing of high iron and other phases. Calcium appears to be active in the process of alkali activation of ash/slag blends, although the competitive and/or synergistic effects of ash and slag particles during the reaction process remain to be understood in detail.


Blast Furnace Slag Calcium Silicate Hydrate Aluminosilicate Glass Incident Electron Energy Alkali Activation 



Partial financial support for this work was provided by the Australian Research Council (ARC), through Discovery Project grants awarded to J.S.J. van Deventer and through the Particulate Fluids Processing Centre, a Special Research Centre of the ARC.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Redmond R. Lloyd
    • 1
  • John L. Provis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jannie S. J. van Deventer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical & Biomolecular EngineeringUniversity of MelbourneVictoriaAustralia

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