Date of Award

5-1-2015

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Mining Engineering

First Advisor

Mohanty, Manoj

Abstract

Coal powered power plants account for more than 40 percent of the electricity production of the United States. The combustion of coal results in a large number of solid waste materials, or coal combustion byproducts (CCBs). These waste materials are stored in landfill or ponds. The construction industry is heavily reliant on concrete which is used to make the building blocks for any type of structures, bricks. Concrete is a composite material made of a binder and coarse and fine aggregate. The most widely used binder in concrete production is Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC). Since cement manufacture is costly and environmentally damaging, research has increased in recent years to find a more readily available binder. This study aims at investigating the properties of Illinois fly ash as a binder in the production of geopolymer concrete. Geopolymer concrete is an innovative material made by using Alumina and Silica rich materials of geological origins as a binder as well as an alkali activated solution. Sodium Silicate and Sodium Hydroxide were used to make the activator solution of two different ratios. Geopolymer Concrete with a ratio of 1:1 of Sodium Silicate to Sodium Hydroxide reached a compressive strength above 6000 psi while samples made with a ratio of 1:2 reached a compressive strength above 4000 psi. This environmentally-friendly, green concrete was also found to have a cost comparable to conventional concrete.

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