Fully reacted high strength geopolymer made with diatomite as a fumed silica alternative

Cengiz Bagci, Gregory P. Kutyla, Waltraud M. Kriven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Geopolymers are formed by mixing of aluminosilicate sources with alkaline meta-silicate solution at room temperature. In the current study, diatomite of Turkish origin was fully utilized as a fumed silica alternative for the preparation of geopolymer, having a typical formula of K2O•Al2O3•4SiO2•11H2O. From XRD of this sample, a broad peak centered at 28° 2θ indicated the well-known formation of amorphous geopolymer, as well as a fully reacted microstructure of geopolymer as seen by scanning electron microscopy. Additionally, geopolymer having the same formula was made by using fumed silica, in order to compare with geopolymers prepared from diatomite. The Weibull modulus was calculated from four-point bending and compressive strength testing of both geopolymer composites. The use of diatomite as a fumed silica substitute in geopolymer production resulted in a very close flexure strength 9.2 (± 4.2 MPa) when compared to geopolymer made from fumed silica 10.2 (± 3.3 MPa). There was a significantly higher compressive strength 71 (± 13.9 MPa) and Weibull modulus (5.4), than comparable properties of geopolymer made from fumed silica, which had a compressive strength 54 (± 25.8 MPa) and Weibull modulus of 2.0. The discrepancy was attributed to some self-reinforcement of the geopolymer matrix due to unreacted diatomite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14784-14790
Number of pages7
JournalCeramics International
Issue number17
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Diatomite
  • Fumed silica
  • Geopolymer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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