Alkalinity and its consequences for the performance of steel-reinforced geopolymer materials

Andreas Koenig*, Hitham Mahmoud, Oliver Baehre, Frank Dehn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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This paper investigates the development of the alkalinity and its impact on carbon steel reinforcement embedded in alkali-activated fly ashes (AAFA) and alkali-activated fly ashes with ten percentage mass (wt%) of blast furnace slag (AAFAS)-based materials (geopolymer–GP). The pH analysis of eluates indicates a remarkable decrease of alkalinity in AAFA and AAFAS in the first hours of the geopolymerization process. Phenolphthalein solution and pore solution tests on concretes also show a sharp decrease of alkalinity with increased Ca content in the binder due to carbonation. Micro X-ray computer tomography (µXCT) and electrochemical techniques indicate that the changed pH in the GP systems was accompanied by a decrease in the corrosion rates of steel reinforcement when compared to ordinary Portland cement (OPC) systems. In contrast to calcite and vaterite, which were detected in OPC and AAFAS after a carbonation process, only sodium carbonate natron was determined at lower levels in AAFA by X-ray diffraction (XRD).

Original languageEnglish
Article number2359
Number of pages25
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Alkalinity
  • Geopolymer concrete
  • Micro X-ray computer tomography (µXCT)
  • Steel reinforcement corrosion


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