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5/9/2019 Here is the Recipe for making Geopolymer Concrete, go wild : Floathouse

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Posted by u/Anenome5 4 years ago 

Here is the Recipe for making Geopolymer Concrete, go wild

I have not yet perfected the geopolymer formula, though I have learned a good bit about what to do and what not to do.
I plan to put these into a short monogram and release it for everyone to try.
It was very difficult for us to discover the formula but I'm quite willing to share :)

Let me dig out my notes here...

These are the proportions by weight for our geopolymer concrete that tested out at ~5,000+ PSI. These proportions are
for a 6,000 grams batch.

101.8 grams of 14-molarity solution Lye (sodium-hydroxide). (This means 41g of lye and 60.7 grams of water). Be
careful when mixing this together. Start with a plastic cup of water, 60.7g of it, and then add about half the lye. It will
heat the water almost to the boiling point. If you see bubbles forming that's okay, just stir and let it cool. Once it has
cooled a good bit, say 5 minutes or so, add the rest of the lye and stir until it dissolves as well. If you dump in all the
lye at once it can boil and sputter and send caustic lye back at you, and it will burn you. If it burns you, wash the
spot with water for 10 min. And be careful, because lye can burn your skin in such a way that it will do damage long
before you feel any pain, so be careful.

This is the only dangerous step in making geopolymer concrete, and it's about as dangerous as making soap, which also
uses lye.

255.7 grams of Waterglass (sodium-silicate).

15.15 grams of superplasticizer. (Geopolymer concrete turned out to be plastic enough on its own that we omitted
this from future batches as unnecessary. It's generally fairly loose. This is one of its problem! Makes it hard to
prepare for spraying and plastering, but perhaps with the addition of nylon fibers it can be made thicker.)

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1848 gram of mixed aggregate (sand and 7mm gravel). One point on this, we began ommitting the rock and using
pure sand andSearch r/Floathouse LOG IN SIGN UP
still obtained a high strength value, but I suggest you play around with the ration of rock to sand and
try to find a good medium point. We cut back on aggregate compared to the first pour because the first pour was
extremely rocky and wouldn't even fill the mold we had. The first pour had 1715g of rock and 734.3g of sand. This
mix with all sand and no rock came out very beautiful and strong, but it could be made stronger with some rock
most likely. This would be a good thing to try out. Also, this rock and sand should be measured out at its wet-weight,
not dry weight. So make sure it always has some water in the bag to keep it hydrated. Otherwise dry aggregate will
suck water out of the alkali-activator and possibly cause a failed pour when you begin to mix them together. One
more note, do not use beach sand, you want some kind of granite-sand or mason-sand. Don't use beach sand, it
results in significant strength loss.
1013g of type-F, low-calcium flyash.
41g of water. One thing we learned was to not play around with the water ratio. You can't make geopolymer thicker
or thinner by adding or taking away water like you can with normal concrete. Instead this will cause the chemistry to
fail. The chemical ratios have to be kept fairly consistent. That's why I say try nylon fibers as a thickener rather than
trying to play with water ratios. We did a lot of playing with water ratios and had a lot of failed pours that failed to

Mixing Process:

1. Measure out and combine the damp aggregate (sand, rock) into a plastic bucket (do not use metal bucket).
Measure 41g of water add it in. Mix the sand and rock for several minutes until everything is well uniformly wet
and mixed using a mechanical stirrer of some sort.
2. Measure 60.7g of water, put into a plastic container.
3. Measure 41g of solid lye pellets. Don't leave these standing in the air too long because they will absorb moisture
from the air and become gummy.
4. Pour about half of the lye into the water and mix with a wooden stirrer. Allow the lye to cool down as you mix,
then add more lye until it absorbs. Be careful not to add so quickly that it begins to first bubble and then boil. You
should be able to feel the heat on the outside of the container and can use that to judge. If mixing large batches
of lye solution you will need to mix these the day before and allow them to come down to room temperature
before continuing. Cover the lye solution and continue.
5. Measure out 255.7g of liquid waterglass (36.5% sodium-silicate, 62.5% water). Immediately add it to the cooled
lye-solution and stir together.
6. Pour the solution into the aggregate and mix for several minutes with a mechanical mixing paddle. We used an
aluminum-tipped mortar mixing paddle on the end of a drill. The lye will off-gas hydrogen if it comes into contact

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with just about any metal, but we felt that once it was mixed in with the flyash and aggregate that it wouldn't be
as active against ther/Floathouse
metal. The alternative was to try to coat the paddle somehow, and that wasn't a good option
as we thought it would surely wear off into the mix. A tough and strong plastic-coated paddle would be idea.
7. Spray the molds with Pam cooking spray as the mold release (or use any similar mold release, but don't use
petroleum jelly, it's been known to interfere chemically with geopolymer).
8. Let it sit for a few minutes, then pour the mix into a mold. I suggest wooden or silicone molds that can survive the
heat of curing. We used 2.5" cube molds made of wood and previously coated in silicone caulk. Note: ideally you
would de-gas the mix in a vacuum chamber to get rid of any entrained air before pouring.
9. Cure the geopolymer in a pre-heated oven at no more than 200° Fahrenheit. Any hotter and it will negatively affect
the strength. At 200°F it cures in 4 hours. At 85°F it will cure in 24 hours. Any analogous range and length between
works too (ie: you could try 120° for 12 hours). It does not need to be covered or kept wet while curing.
10. Remove from heat when the time is up and remove from the mold (further heat will not hurt or help it). It is now
cured and has about 90% of its final strength. Within 3 days it will have 95% of its full strength, and 99% within a

A note about flyash:

On the sidebar you can find details for ordering a flyash type-F sample from Boral free of charge. However if you're
ever in doubt there's a simply test you can perform. If the flyash is high calcium, it will heat up when mixed with a
little bit of water. Calcium compounds in both concrete and type-C high-calcium flyash are what cause both concrete
and type-C flyash to cure themselves by generating their own heat, what's known as the heat of hydration.

If you add a bit of water to a good amount of flyash (say the size of a cup) and it stays completely cool, then you have a
low-calcium type-F flyash that is possibly a good fit for this recipe.
If you have a choice, the lower the calcium content the better. 2% calcium flyash is about as good as can be hoped for. I
performed this recipe with 5% flyash that was available to me.
Good luck!

And just so there's no confusion, I am releasing this info under the MIT license:
The MIT License (MIT)
Copyright (c) <2014> <Michael Eliot, Andy Thomas>
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this document, to deal in the document
without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense,

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and/or sell copies of the document, and to permit persons to whom the document is furnished to do so, subject to the
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following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the

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 Anenome5  3 points · 4 years ago

 For making geopolymer in large production batches the idea way to do it would be to render these weight figures into
volume figures and go from there. This allows for rapid preparation without having to bother with scales.
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 [deleted] 2 points · 4 years ago

 If fly ash packs unevenly (like baking flour) then measuring it by volume could lead to failed mixes unless dealing with
ENORMOUS volumes that could take average density into account safely. How evenly do the powdered elements pack in
a container?
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 bartoksic 2 points · 4 years ago

 Good point. Concrete mixes are generally specified by weights (pounds, please) in my experience.
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 Anenome5  1 point · 4 years ago

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 How would one measure that? How does the food preparation industry deal with this? They still deal in cups of flour, no?
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The flyash powder itself is exceptionally fine, much like baking flour.
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 [deleted] 2 points · 4 years ago

 Take two samples by weight and split them between two transparent, sealable containers. Shake one, tamp down the
other, and see if the difference would ruin a batch if you measured by volume instead of by weight.
EDIT: re: flour. The instructions on the back of the cake mix box suggest going by volume. Alton Brown recommends
going by weight.
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 Anenome5  2 points · 4 years ago · edited 4 years ago

 I've found the chemistry to be a bit exacting. Most of our testing involved playing with water content like one would
do with cement--big mistake. Don't mess with the water content.
And we played with aggregate content and proportions, that was a better means of playing, as it didn't mess with
the chemistry.
So, with that in mind, perhaps weighing out your flyash would be the better option as you say. Thanks for the
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 Ordo_Spontaneum 2 points · 4 years ago

 I've found the chemistry to be a bit exacting

You have the moles listed, and in any periodic table you can look up the molecular masses of the compounds.
The unit for molecular mass is grams per mol [g/mol].
Let's take the Lye solution:
101.8g of 14-molarity NaOH

The "molarity" refers to how many mols are available per unit of volume, commonly in Liters [mol/L].
According to the periodic table, Sodium's (Na) molar mass is 22.99 g/mol, and Hydroxide's molar mass is 17 (16
for O +1 for H), which makes NaOH clock in at 39.99 g/mol of Lye
Note: mol is a way to count molecules, similar to dozens used in baking. Dozen means 12 each, whereas Mol
means 6.022*1023 each, so just as you know how many buns are in a 5 pound bag of bread, you can calculate

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how many molecules of Lye are in a given volume based on mass.

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For every mol of Lye, we have 39.99 grams of it, so with a 14 molar solution, we get 14x39.99g in one Liter of
water, which is 559,86 grams per 1000 grams water (1L = 1kg H2O).
So you can quite easily calculate the volumes required for your recipes, you have all the needed data available,
and you don't even need to reference the complex silicate polymer reactions involved (i.e. the actual chemistry).
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 Anenome5  2 points · 4 years ago

 Yep, just a matter of doing it.
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 especkman 2 points · 4 years ago

 The food industry deals in weights. Its only home cooks who deal with volumes, and not even all of them (I think most
european baking recipes use weights for the flour).
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 Anenome5  3 points · 4 years ago

 Well regardless, the concrete industry generally deals in volumes when it comes to regular concrete (ie: 1 part this,
two parts that). Production using volume can be considerably faster than weighing, especially in large volumes.
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 crasch4 2 points · 4 years ago

 Awesome, thanks for writing this up.
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 Chofsi 2 points · 4 years ago · edited 4 years ago

 Please, this is not geopolymer but alkali activated materials. This has nothing to do with geopolymers. Some civil
engineers are wrongly using the word geopolymer as a synonym of alkali activated fly-ash thus creating confusion in
the scientific community. The chemistry and chemical reactions are different. Please do a favor to our open
community and use the appropriate wording. In your text, replace the word geopolymer with AAFA or other acronyms.
See the Geopolymer Institute website for a plain explanation: Why Alkali-Activated Materials are NOT Geopolymers ?
Otherwise, great formula. Thank you for sharing ! I know it will help a lot of students.

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 Anenome5  1 point · 4 years ago

 I think you may have jumped the gun here.
I watched the video, and agree with its assessment, however it's not talking about the geopolymer concrete I've made
here. He focuses on slag-based materials.
There is no slag in my formula up above.
The other major aspect is that Davidovits and many others in this field are focusing on type-C flyash and geopolymer
which does not require alkali-activation because high calcium content allows it to generate its own heat via reaction with
water in order to cure.
However, type-F flyash and does require alkali activation due to extremely low calcium content (2% - 5%). If you simply
add water to it, nothing happens. It does not heat up, it does not cure, because it has no calcium, it is calcium that
produces the heat of hydration to cure type-C flyash.
Any time you see him talking about chemical formulas that include calcium (Ca) you know he's talking about type-C
flyash and not type-f based geopolymer. He does not like the word phrase 'alkali activation' for reasons that I make clear
below, but he also does not care about type-F flyash, which is the only kind that I care about, because it's produces the
only kind of geopolymer that can survive at sea long-term.
The term "alkali activation" has a very bad sound to the ear of a concrete engineer, because it is a phrase used to refer
to a major problem with regular concrete, which can become damaged by alkali environments, and this is called "alkali
activation." This may be part of the reason why geopolymers have been slow to be taken up by industry, a sort of bias
against them due to association with that phrase to the uninitiated. Davidovits want concrete engineers to start using
geopolymer, thus he has banished that phrase to try to overcome the confusion:

geopolymer cement is sometimes mixed up with alkali-activated cement and concrete, developed more than 50
years ago by G.V. Glukhovsky in Ukraine, the former Soviet Union.[5] They were originally known under the names
"soil silicate concretes" and "soil cements". Because Portland cement concretes can be affected by the deleterious
Alkali-aggregate reaction, coined AAR or Alkali-silica reaction coined ASR (see for example the RILEM Committee 219-
ACS Aggregate Reaction in Concrete Structures [6]), the wording alkali-activation has a negative impact on civil
engineers. Nevertheless, several cement scientists continue to promote the idea of alkali-activated materials or alkali-
activated geopolymers. These cements coined AAM encompass the specific fields of alkali-activated slags, alkali-
activated coal fly ashes, blended cements (see RILEM Technical committee DTA).[7] However, it is interesting to
mention the fact that geopolymer cements do not generate any of these deleterious reactions (see below in

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Ultimately what makes a material a true geopolymer is whether zeolite structures are formed in the resulting material,
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and by all account the above listed recipe does into produce alumino-silicate zeolitic structures.
If you want more information on the means of making type-F geopolymer, with advice of Davidovits himself, check out
this PDF I found where they made type-F geopolymer and inspected it on the microscale and chemically to verify its
having turned into a true geopolymer, and also presented is a formula similar to the one I present above:
In this community we've got to make a very clear delineation between type-C flyash or metakaolin-based geopolymer
concrete that most of the world is pursuing and researching, which is good for making buildings and airport-runways
and doesn't require "alkali activation", and type-F flyash-based geopolymer that is good for seasteading and does
require alkali activation.
Even now while research into and use of high-calcium geopolymers are rare, research into and use of low-calcium
geopolymers are even more rare because they don't need its sea-proof properties the way we do.
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 Chofsi 1 point · 4 years ago · edited 4 years ago

 You are right to quote the wikipedia page on geopolymer cement which is a very good introduction to this topic, IMO.
The other major aspect is that Davidovits and many others in this field are focusing on type-C flyash

In fact it is the opposite, Davidovits only works on type-F because with his method, he only gets flash set with type-C
and, according to him, the way to solve this problem is too complicated that it ruins the advantage of using fly-ash (he
said that at a Q&A session during one of his webinars). But scientists may find a way with time, maybe.
Also, I would like to add that Davidovits has also released his formula to the public. Check this paper at the
Geopolymer Institute Library GEOASH: ambient temp. hardening of fly ash-based geopolymer cements I invite readers
to compare, perform testing and make their recipe.
The key element to make a great room temperature hardening, user friendly mix of cement, is in mastering the process.
The order of mixing, the preparation, creating the geopolymer binder first, then add the rest, are the essential keys to
manufacture a very good product. Otherwise, people do rubbish, full of blooming, high carbonation, leachate and other
bad problems. I strongly invite people to watch Davidovits webinar, especially the 7th topic on fly-ash. Geopolymer Web
Workshop Webinar Watching these videos was a great eye opening to me and I immediately made fantastic
One more thing. I would like to share my experience. Now I use potassium instead of sodium. First, the mix is more fluid
(I add less water), I get much better physical properties and less chemical problems in the end. Like most people, I
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thought using potassium was more expensive than sodium. It is true if we substitute 1kg of sodium silicate with 1 kg of
Search But
potassium silicate. r/Floathouse LOG IN SIGN UP
this is not the rule with geopolymer cement. The real truth is I use up to 2.5 x/weight less
potassium silicate than sodium silicate in my mix to get the same fluidity and reactivity (the latter depends on your
fly-ash and how you prepare your mix). So, the final price is the same and I solve many problems caused by the use of
sodium!!! Please, try it, it is worth it.
Sorry for not being more precise as you do, but I am working for a company now and the results are very promising in
terms of properties, standards compliances (very important) and workers' safety (a less corrosive mix, you can dip your
finger in it and it does not burn your skin).
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 Anenome5  1 point · 4 years ago · edited 4 years ago

 Interesting, thank you. I'll have to dive back into Davidovits's material. We were sure he'd given up on type-F entirely,
but that seems to have been old info or a mistaken conclusion. Strange that even in the doc you reference he talks
about Ca bonding, even though the Ca percent is extremly low in type-F.
However, the remaining question for my purposes is salt-water durability. This Davidovits definitely is not focused on.
He talks a lot in that doc about zeolitic AAM, and in studying Roman concrete it was found to be zeolite minerals that
were able to resist seawater attack so well.
So regardless all of this, if the method I've used above is a superior saltwater material compared to what Davidovits has
moved onto, and thus far I have no reason to think others since he's deprecating zeolitics in this piece, then I may well
end up sticking with this formula. But I'll have to do more research to make the determination or not.
Thanks for bringing these ideas to our attention.

Edit: This quote from the piece seems to indicate what I'd said above, that his preferred geopolymer method does not
produce zeolitics structures, which is the primary thing I'm trying to generate for saltwater resistance:

In the zeolitic procedure, Na-aluminium-silicates (mainly zeolitic products) are formed as a result of the alkaline and
thermal activation. The method implies the dissolution of the fly ash particles in such a way that the original
mineralogy is significantly modified. Fly ash aluminosilicate glassy spheres are dissolved. Figure 4 shows the clear
decrease in the background hump of the diffraction patterns between fly ash and NaOH 12M (alkaliactivation). This
results in new species, mainly chabazite-Na (NaAlSi2O6·3H2O) and sodalite (Na4Al3Si3O12(OH). Quartz, mullite and
magnetite are low reactive phases only partially involved in the zeolitization and remain as relict mineralogy of fly
ash. KOH is not an optimal activator in this conventional method since the degree of reactivity is lower than with
NaOH. The (Ca,K)-based geopolymeric method is performed at room temperature and entails a low degree of
dissolution since only the surface of the starting materials is taking part in the reaction. For the Geopolymer pattern
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in Figure 4, the original mineralogy of fly ash is not significantly modified. The (Ca,K)-poly(sialate-siloxo) amorphous
from the inter-geopolymerization of the fly ash aluminosilicate glassy spheres (slight decrease in the
background hump), with the alkaline solution and the slag. (Nr 22, p8)

Ultimately we'll have to do ocean durability tests to see how each material compares.

Edit2: Oh wait, he adds in a lot of extra calcium with the slag--he essentially converts his type-F flyash into a type-C
slurry, adding in some 10% Ca that way:
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 aurizon 1 point · 4 years ago · edited 4 years ago

 What is this so called 'fly ash" From burned flies? Of course not, but please provide a true formula of the composition of
fly ash. from Wikipedia it comes from the complete combustion of coal.
and it is typically like this.
Component Bituminous SiO2 (%) 20-60 Al2O3 (%) 5-35
Fe2O3 (%) 10-40
CaO (%) 1-12 LOI (%) 0-15
Component sub-Bituminous SiO2 (%) 40-60 Al2O3 (%) 20-30
Fe2O3 (%) 4-10
CaO (%) 5-30 LOI (%) 0-3
Component Lignite SiO2 (%) 15-45 Al2O3 (%) 20-25
Fe2O3 (%) 4-15
CaO (%) 15-40 LOI (%) 0-5
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 autowikibot 2 points · 4 years ago

Fly ash:

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Fly ash, also known as flue-ash, is one of the residues generated in combustion, and comprises the fine particles that
rise with theSearch r/Floathouse LOG IN SIGN UP
flue gases. Ash which does not rise is termed bottom ash. In an industrial context, fly ash usually refers
to ash produced during combustion of coal. Fly ash is generally captured by electrostatic precipitators or other
particle filtration equipment before the flue gases reach the chimneys of coal-fired power plants, and together with
bottom ash removed from the bottom of the furnace is in this case jointly known as coal ash. Depending upon the
source and makeup of the coal being burned, the components of fly ash vary considerably, but all fly ash includes
substantial amounts of silicon dioxide (SiO2) (both amorphous and crystalline) and calcium oxide (CaO), both being
endemic ingredients in many coal-bearing rock strata.
Image i - Photomicrograph made with a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and back-scatter detector: cross section of fly
ash particles at 750x magnification

Interesting: Fly ash ^brick | Controlled low strength ^material | Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry ^spill | Ash ^pond
Parent commenter can toggle ^NSFW or ^delete. Will also delete on comment score of -1 or less. | FAQs | ^Mods | Magic ^Words
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 Anenome5  2 points · 4 years ago

 The stuff I used is low-Ca from Apache mountain, supplier Boral as on the sidebar, and the chemical composition is as
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 aurizon 1 point · 4 years ago

 That should make a nice ochre color
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 Anenome5  1 point · 4 years ago

 It's a slate-gray actually.
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 aurizon 1 point · 4 years ago

 Ah, I thought that the iron might be in the Fe2O3, fully hydrolized. So it must be the black Fe3O4 form
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 Anenome5  1 point · 4 years ago

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 Seems so.
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 btribble 1 point · 4 years ago

 Have you tried using bauxite instead of fly ash? Is that cost prohibitive?
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 Anenome5  1 point · 4 years ago

 bauxite
With two minutes of research to go on, it seems bauxite has an unfavorable ratio of silica to alumina, which would
throw the chemistry way off. You want at least double the silica to aluminum.
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 btribble 1 point · 4 years ago

 Sure, but finding a source of silica to get the ratios right should be a non-issue. I thought about saying "and silica",
but thought that might be implied. The reason I brought it up (which I suppose is also non-obvious) is that fly ash is
in finite supply. Hopefully we'll stop burning so much coal, and the supplies will be even "more finite".
I've always assumed that based on the name, cinder blocks once used fly ash as a primary component...
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 Anenome5  1 point · 4 years ago

 The great thing about flyash is that most of it is being thrown away in landfills as a waste product today.
When I sourced low-Ca flyash the minimum I could buy was 27-tons for $810. Roughly 1.5 cents a pound.
What does bauxite plus silica-rich ore go for?
For the forseeable future we'll be burning large amounts of coal for energy, at least another 20-50 years.
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 btribble 1 point · 4 years ago

 Bauxite is what they commonly derive everyday aluminum from, and it isn't that cheap (though I don't have
actual prices). As far as "silica rich ore" goes, I think we're basically talking about sand. ;)
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 bakaten 1 point · 4 years

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 Anyone tried using potassium silicate yet? @chofsi Are you also substituting lye with KOH? Are you using slag in your
design mix? Also anyone know any substitute for iron slag?
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