Carbonation rate of alkali-activated concretes and high-volume SCM concretes: a literature data analysis by RILEM TC 281-CCC

Gregor J.G. Gluth, Xinyuan Ke, Anya Vollpracht, Lia Weiler, Susan A. Bernal, Martin Cyr, Katja Dombrowski-Daube, Daniel A. Geddes, Cyrill Grengg, Cassandre Le Galliard, Marija Nedeljkovic, John L. Provis, Luca Valentini, Brant Walkley

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The current understanding of the carbonation and the prediction of the carbonation rate of alkali-activated concretes is complicated inter alia by the wide range of binder chemistries used and testing conditions adopted. To overcome some of the limitations of individual studies and to identify general correlations between mix design parameters and carbonation resistance, the RILEM TC 281-CCC ‘Carbonation of Concrete with Supplementary Cementitious Materials’ Working Group 6 compiled and analysed carbonation data for alkali-activated concretes and mortars from the literature. For comparison purposes, data for blended Portland cement-based concretes with a high percentage of SCMs (≥ 66% of the binder) were also included in the database. The analysis indicates that water/CaO ratio and water/binder ratio exert an influence on the carbonation resistance of alkali-activated concretes; however, these parameters are not good indicators of the carbonation resistance when considered individually. A better indicator of the carbonation resistance of alkali-activated concretes under conditions approximating natural carbonation appears to be their water/(CaO + MgOeq + Na2Oeq + K2Oeq) ratio, where the subscript ‘eq’ indicates an equivalent amount based on molar masses. Nevertheless, this ratio can serve as approximate indicator at best, as other parameters also affect the carbonation resistance of alkali-activated concretes. In addition, the analysis of the database points to peculiarities of accelerated tests using elevated CO2 concentrations for low-Ca alkali-activated concretes, indicating that even at the relatively modest concentration of 1% CO2, accelerated testing may lead to inaccurate predictions of the carbonation resistance under natural exposure conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number225
JournalMaterials and Structures/Materiaux et Constructions
Issue number8
Early online date14 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL. Participation of S. A. Bernal in this study was sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through the Early Career Fellowship EP/R001642/1, and the National Science Foundation/ EPSRC lead agency RENACEM grant EP/T008407/1 and 1903457. Participation of J. L. Provis in this study was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council through grant EP/T008407/1.


  • Accelerated testing
  • Alkali-activated materials
  • Carbonation
  • Durability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials


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