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Influence of wood pretreatment and fly ash particle size on the performance of geopolymer wood composite

In search for greener building materials, geopolymer wood composites (GWC) were produced through alkali activation of fly ash, using pine and eucalypt wood particles. The study examined the influence of grinding fly ash, wood species and hot water treatment of wood particles on the physical properties and specific compressive strength of GWC before and after 200 cycles of soaking and drying. Ash-grinding affected particle size distribution, as the hot water pretreatment of the wood affected its extractives. The particle size analysis showed that grinding decreased the mean particle size of raw ash by 55% and played a major role in the composite’s properties, as lower densities and specific strength with high water absorption were recorded for GWC from raw ash than from ground ash. The ash-grinding step doubled the specific strength of the composites before the aging test. A decrease in specific strength (15–32%) was observed for all composites after the soaking and drying cycles. Hot water washing of the wood resulted in a 47% and 67% reduction in the extractive content of the pine and eucalypt particles, respectively. An improvement of 27% and 3% was noted in specific strength values respectively for GWC with treated pine and eucalypt particles. In general, lower specific strength was recorded for pine-based composites than eucalypt ones, due to the fast impregnation and high water absorption from the mixture by pine particles. It was revealed that hot water treatment of wood improves GWC properties less compared to wood species or fly ash particle size.



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