Journal of Cleaner Production, vol.396, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
As a viable option to upcycle construction and demolition waste (CDW) into value-added materials, geopolymer technology is emerging. Most studies investigate CDWs in a separated form or in combination with mainstream pozzolanic/cementitious materials focusing only on fundamental properties of geopolymer pastes, not considering to scale such materials to the level of their application in the forms of structural mortars/concretes or to characterize long-term performance/durability. This study investigated the development and characterization of ambient-cured mortars with mixed CDW-based geopolymer binders and untreated fine recycled concrete aggregates (FRCA). Mixture of CDW-based roof tile (RT), red clay brick (RCB), hollow brick (HB), concrete (C), and glass (G) was used as the precursor, while ground granulated blast furnace slag (S) was used in some mixtures to partly replace CDW precursors. Compressive strength, durability-related parameters including drying shrinkage, water absorption, and efflorescence, microstructure and materials sustainability were evaluated. Results showed that 28 d compressive strength results above 30 and 50 MPa are achievable with the entirely CDW-based and slag-substituted mortars, which were found improvable to have entirely CDW-based structural concretes. Drying shrinkage of the mortars is slightly higher than that of conventional cementitious/geopolymeric systems although it can be minimized significantly through mixture optimization. Water absorption values remain comparable with the literature. CDW-based geopolymer mortars outperform Portland cement mortars in terms of CO2 emission and energy requirement. Our findings show that via utilizing CDW-based constituents in mixed form as precursor and waste aggregates, it is possible to develop greener construction materials with acceptable strength and long-term performance.