Properties and characterization of alumina platelet reinforced geopolymer composites

Gregory P. Kutyla, Waltraud M. Kriven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Geopolymers are porous, amorphous, alkali-aluminosilicate hydrate materials formed at room temperature via a solution process. Geopolymer based on metakaolin had a relatively homogeneous microstructure that offered consistent behavior but suffered from dehydration cracking and large densification shrinkages when heated. It was found that by reinforcing a metakaolin geopolymer of composition (K2O·Al2O3·4SiO2·11H2O) with 50 µm diameter alumina platelets, dehydration cracking could be prevented, and shrinkage could be reduced by an order of magnitude. Samples were reinforced with 30, 50, and 70 wt% of alumina platelets. Although the properties of the 30 and 50 wt% conditions were better than those of unreinforced geopolymer, those samples still showed warping, cracking, and strength losses on heating. The 70 wt% samples did not warp or crack when heated to temperatures of up to 1500°C. The room-temperature 4-point flexural strength of these samples remained at around 20 MPa regardless of heat treatments. The in situ measured flexural strength increased to almost 40 MPa at 600°C, and remained higher than 20 MPa until 1200°C. Samples subjected to propane-torch thermal shock heating and subsequent quenching did not crack or fragment. Dilatometry, X-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy were used for additional characterization. Given these properties, this material showed promise as a castable refractory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5178-5185
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • alumina
  • fracture mechanics/toughness
  • geopolymers
  • microstructure
  • processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry


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