Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 46, Issue 20, pp 6545–6555 | Cite as

Micromechanical multiscale model for alkali activation of fly ash and metakaolin

  • Vít Šmilauer
  • Petr Hlaváček
  • František Škvára
  • Rostislav Šulc
  • Lubomír Kopecký
  • Jiří Němeček


The process of alkali activation of fly ash and metakaolin is examined in the view of micromechanics. Elasticity is predicted via semi-analytical homogenization methods, using a combination of intrinsic elastic properties obtained from nanoindentation, evolving volume fractions and percolation theory. A new quantitative model for volume fraction is formulated, distinguishing the evolution of unreacted aluminosilicate material, solid gel particles of N-A-S-H gel, and open porosity, which is partially filled with the activator. The stiffening of N-A-S-H gel is modeled by increasing the fraction of solid gel particles. Their packing density and intrinsic elasticity differ in N-A-S-H gels synthesized from both activated materials. Percolation theory helps to address the quasi-solid transition at early ages and explains a long setting time and the beneficial effect of thermal curing. The low ability of N-A-S-H gel to bind water chemically explains the high porosity of Ca-deficient activated materials. Micromechanical analysis matches well the elastic experimental data during the activation and elucidates important stages in the formation of the microstructure.


Representative Volume Element Percolation Threshold Open Porosity Capillary Porosity Alkali Activation 



This research was supported by the Czech Science Foundation under the grant GAP104/10/2344, GA103/09/1748 and MSM 6046137302. M. Vokáč from Klokner Institute, CTU in Prague is greatly acknowledged for conducting precise measurements of elastic moduli.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vít Šmilauer
    • 1
  • Petr Hlaváček
    • 1
  • František Škvára
    • 2
  • Rostislav Šulc
    • 1
  • Lubomír Kopecký
    • 1
  • Jiří Němeček
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Civil EngineeringCzech Technical University in PraguePrague 6Czech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Glass and CeramicsInstitute of Chemical Technology PraguePragueCzech Republic

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