Slag-Based Cements That Resist Damage Induced by Carbon Dioxide

Xinyuan Ke, Maria Criado, John L. Provis, Susan A. Bernal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (SciVal)


The use of sodium carbonate as an activator to prepare alkali-activated cements from blast furnace slag and calcined hydrotalcite offers many attractive performance and environmental benefits. However, the understanding of the long-term performance of these cements is limited. In this study, the resistance of sodium carbonate-activated slag cements to carbonation attack was determined under natural (0.04%) and elevated (1.0%) CO2 concentrations. Two calcium carbonate polymorphs, calcite and vaterite, were formed as carbonation products at a longer time of CO2 exposure. A cross-linked alkali aluminosilicate gel and a Ca-deficient calcium (alumino)silicate hydrate gel were identified to form by decalcification of the main binding phases initially present in these cements. However, despite these carbonation-induced mineralogical changes, the mechanical strength after carbonation was comparable to that of noncarbonated specimens, which is contrary to previous observations of strength loss due to carbonation of slag-rich cements. The high carbonation resistance of sodium carbonate-activated slag cement indicates these materials have the potential to resist attack by atmospheric CO2 in service with sustained mechanical performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5067-5075
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number4
Early online date1 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2018


  • Alkali-activated cements
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Carbonation
  • Durability
  • Layered double hydroxides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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