Alkali-Activation of Non-Wood Biomass Ash: Effects of Ash Characteristics on Concrete Performance

Faris Matalkah, A.G.N.D. Darsanasiri, Saqib Abideen, Anagi Balachadra, Parviz Soroushian


Combustion of biomass is increasingly practiced for power generation. Unlike coal ash, the combustion ashes of biomass do not offer significant value in Portland cement concrete production. An experimental study was conducted in order to assess the value of the combustion ashes of different non-wood biomass types towards production of alkali activated binders for concrete production. The results indicated that concrete materials with a desired balance of fresh mix workability, set time and compressive strength can be produced used alkali activated non-wood biomass ash binders. Correlations were drawn between the concrete engineering properties and different non-wood biomass ash characteristics. It was found that statistically significant relationships exist between the concrete properties and the non-wood biomass ash degree of crystallinity and solubility. These two ash characteristics were also found to be correlated. It was concluded that the suitability of non-wood biomass ash for use in production of alkali activated concrete can be assessed based on its degree of crystallinity.


Non-Wood Biomass; Combustion Ash; Solubility, Degree of Crystallinity; Alkali Activation; Geopolymer.


Pacheco-Torgal, F., J. Castro-Gomes, and S. Jalali, Alkali-activated binders: A review: Part 1. Historical background, terminology, reaction mechanisms and hydration products. Construction and Building Materials, 2008. 22(7): p. 1305-1314.

Fernández-Jiménez, A. and A. Palomo, Composition and microstructure of alkali activated fly ash binder: Effect of the activator. Cement and concrete research, 2005. 35(10): p. 1984-1992.

van Deventer, J.S., et al., Chemical research and climate change as drivers in the commercial adoption of alkali activated materials. Waste and Biomass Valorization, 2010. 1(1): p. 145-155.

Matalkah, F., et al., Mechanochemical synthesis of one-part alkali aluminosilicate hydraulic cement. Materials and Structures, 2017. 50(1): p. 97.

Komnitsas, K. and D. Zaharaki, Geopolymerisation: A review and prospects for the minerals industry. Minerals Engineering, 2007. 20(14): p. 1261-1277.

Matalkah, F., et al., Development of indigenous binders as construction materials. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers-Construction Materials, 2017: p. 1-10.

Matalkah, F., et al., Development and Characterization of Gypsum-Based Binder. European Journal of Advances in Engineering and Technology, 2017. 4(3): p. 153-157.

Palomo, A., M. Grutzeck, and M. Blanco, Alkali-activated fly ashes: a cement for the future. Cement and concrete research, 1999. 29(8): p. 1323-1329.

Diaz, E. and E. Allouche. Recycling of fly ash into geopolymer concrete: creation of a database. in Green Technologies Conference, 2010 IEEE. 2010. IEEE.

Diaz, E., E. Allouche, and S. Eklund, Factors affecting the suitability of fly ash as source material for geopolymers. Fuel, 2010. 89(5): p. 992-996.

Kumar, R., S. Kumar, and S. Mehrotra, Towards sustainable solutions for fly ash through mechanical activation. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 2007. 52(2): p. 157-179.

Temuujin, J. and A. Van Riessen, Effect of fly ash preliminary calcination on the properties of geopolymer. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2009. 164(2): p. 634-639.

Matalkah, F., et al., Use of non-wood biomass combustion ash in development of alkali-activated concrete. Construction and Building Materials, 2016. 121: p. 491-500.

Matalkah, F., et al., Characterization of Alkali-Activated Nonwood Biomass Ash–Based Geopolymer Concrete. Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, 2016: p. 04016270.

Somna, K., et al., NaOH-activated ground fly ash geopolymer cured at ambient temperature. Fuel, 2011. 90(6): p. 2118-2124.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Faris Matalkah

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.