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The Geopolymer Alliance sponsored two Ph D students at Melbourne University. Both have now successfully completed and published their Ph D theses.
Both worked in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Melbourne and were supervised by Dr John Provis (email@example.com ).
Ailar Hajimohammadi’s project was:-
Utilizing one-part mixes for analyzing and manipulating the structure of geopolymers
In geopolymer technology, silicate solutions are frequently used in alkali activation for dissolving the aluminosilicate to produce the binder. These corrosive and often viscous solutions are not user friendly, and would be difficult to use for bulk production. Developing geopolymers as a one-part mixture “just add water” similar to OPC increases their commercial viability. On the other hand, purity of such systems and slow reaction process in one-part geopolymer mixes makes it easier to observe early-stage development, which makes them highly suitable for fundamental studies. The aim of this project is to utilize simple and pure one part geopolymer mixes for better understanding of the chemical processes governing geopolymer reactions to help with allowing a wider variety of waste materials to be utilized and also help with the tailoring of binder properties for specific applications. Several analytical techniques have been used to study geopolymer reactions. The main analytical techniques used are: Attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), Scanning electron microscopy and Synchrotron radiation-based Fourier transform infrared (SR-FTIR) spectromicroscopy. This provides the opportunity to analyse the chemistry of the geopolymer binder at a level of detail that has not been previously available.
Journal paper: Hajimohammadi, A., Provis J L, and Van Deventer J S J (2008), One-part geopolymer mixes from geothermal silica and sodium aluminate., Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research 47 (23): 9396-9405.
Conference paper (and poster presentation):
Hajimohammadi A, Provis JL, Van Deventer JSJ, One-part geopolymer mixes from geothermal silica and sodium aluminate, in: 2008 AIChE Annual Meeting. 2008, Philadelphia, PA.
Claire White’s project was:-
Multiscale Modelling of Geopolymers
During 2008 Claire White has been using different characterization techniques necessary to characterise amorphous geopolymer precursors, with the main focus on metakaolin. This work has concentrated on using density functional modelling in conjunction with synchrotron and neutron experiments (at the Australian synchrotron and Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA). The modelling was carried out using time awarded through the Merit Allocation Scheme, Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing at the Australian National University, Canberra. This work is at the forefront of the application of new methodologies to the problem of solving the atomic structure of metakaolin, which has remained an open question for the past 40 years. A substantial component of the work has also concentrated on reconciling discrepancies in the literature regarding the nature of the crystalline parent material, kaolinite.