The high autogenous shrinkage of alkali-activated materials made from slag and fly ash is recognised as a major drawback with regard to the use as construction materials. In this study, metakaolin was introduced into the alkali-activated slag-fly ash (AASF) paste to mitigate the autogenous shrinkage. The shrinkage mitigation mechanism of metakaolin was explained by studying the influences of metakaolin on the microstructure, shrinkage related properties, and mechanical properties of AASF paste. It was found that adding metakaolin could significantly reduce the chemical and autogenous shrinkage of AASF paste. This shrinkage mitigation is accompanied by a decrease in the alkalinity of AASF paste pore solution, a reduced drop in internal relative humidity, and an increase in porosity of AASF paste. Moreover, the incorporation of metakaolin does not change the type of the reaction products, but greatly delays the formation of the reaction products of AASF paste. The addition of metakaolin, above 5% of the binder, results in lower 28-day compressive and flexural strength of AASF paste.
- Alkali-activated materials
- Fly ash