Laser scanning confocal microscopic analysis of metakaolin-based geopolymers

Jonathan L. Bell, Waltraud M Kriven, Angus P R Johnson, Frank Caruso

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) is a microscopy technique that has the capability of transmitting light through thin sections of material, to visualize a 2-dimensional plane of the sample interior. Computer software is then used to form 3-dimensional representations of the sample from multiple 2-dimensional scans. In this study, LSCM was employed to resolve the distribution of the formed geopolymer phase and metakaolin precursors in geopolymers with varying molar ratios (M2O·Al 2O3 ·xSiO2, where x = 0, 1, 2 and M = Na+, K+, or Na/K = 1) and make correlations between the observed distributions and the degree of reaction between the two precursors. LSCM analysis agreed with results in NMR and microstructural studies presented in literature- increasing concentrations of silica and higher sodium to potassium ratios resulted in less reaction between metakaolin particles and alkalisilicate solutions. When potassium is used, the resultant microstructure consisted of finer precipitate sizes and porosity regardless of the amount of silica added. The use of LSCM allowed for a 3-D microstructural perspective of pores, unreacted metakaolin, and formed geopolymer precipitates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Porous, Biological and Geopolymer Ceramics - A Collection of Papers Presented at the 31st International Conference on Advanced Ceramics and Composites
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2008
Event31st International Conference on Advanced Ceramics and Composites - Daytona Beach, FL, United States
Duration: Jan 21 2007Jan 26 2007


Other31st International Conference on Advanced Ceramics and Composites
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityDaytona Beach, FL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry


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