Synthesis of a two-part geopolymer from red mud and silica fume


  • Arup Kumar Mandal Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Mahatma Gandhi Avenue, Durgapur, 713209, West Bengal, India



Red mud, Silica fumes, Two-part geopolymer, Waste materials


In this present study, the development of a two-part geopolymer from waste red mud (RM) and silica fume (SF) by alkali activator is examined. The influence of silica fume addition, alkali concentration, curing duration are studied. The compressive strength of geopolymers has been achieved 0.8 MPa to 8 MPa with varying different compositions and synthesis parameters. The optimum RM/SF ratio is 60/40, the optimum solid/solution ratio is 1.8 gmL-1 or 2 gmL-1, and the optimum Na2SiO3/NaOH ratio is 0.5 day for 28 days curing time. The incorporation of iron in the geopolymer matrix contributes to geopolymerization. The study suggests that the produced geopolymer can be used as cementitious materials for making pavement and other valuable constructional materials. This procedure will be environment friendly and cheaper also.


Metrics Loading ...


R. E. Lyon, P. N. Balaguru, A. Foden, U. Sorathia, J. Davidovits, and M. Davidovics, "Fire-resistant aluminosilicate composites," Fire and Materials vol. 21, pp. 67-73, 1997. DOI:<67::AID-FAM596>3.0.CO;2-N

D. Hambling, "Cool Under Pressure: Geopolymers Offer Diverse Structural Benefits," Defense Technology International, Washington, DC. 2009, pp. 42.

J. Davidovits, and M. Davidovics, "Geopolymer: ultra-high temperature tooling material for the manufacture of advanced composites", in the 36th International SAMPE Symposium, SAMPE 1991, San Diego, USA, vol. 36(2), pp. 1939-1949,1991.

V. Vaou, and D. Panias, "Thermal insulating foamy geopolymers from perlite," Minerals Engineering, vol. 23(14), pp. 1146-1151, 2010. DOI:

K. Sakkas, S. Kapelari, D. Panias, P. Nomikos, and A. Sofianos, "Fire resistant k-based metakaolin geopolymer for passive fire protection of concrete tunnel linings," Open Access Library Journal, vol. 1(6), pp. 1-9, 2014. DOI:

P. Puksisuwan, P. Laoratanakul, and B. Cherdhirunkorn, "Utilization of aluminium dross as a main raw material for synthesis of geopolymer," Journal of Metals, Materials and Minerals, vol. 27, pp. 35-42, 2017.

S. Prasanphan, A. Wannagon, and T. Kobayashi, "Microstructure evolution and mechanical properties of calcined kaolin processing waste-based geopolymers in the presence of different alkali activator content by pressing and casting," Journal of Metals, Materials and Minerals, vol. 30, pp. 121-132, 2020.

A. M. A. B. Mohd, L. Jamaludin, K. Hussin, M. Binhussain, C. M. R. Ghazali, and A. M. Izzat, "Study on fly ash based geopolymer for coating applications," Advanced Materials Research, vol. 686, pp. 227-233. 2013. DOI:

J. Bell, M. Gordon, and W. Kriven, "Use of geopolymeric cements as a refractory adhesive for metal and ceramic joins," Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, vol. 26(3), pp. 407-413, 2005. DOI:

S. Hanjitsuwan, T. Phoo-ngernkham, and N. Damrongwiriyanupap, "Comparative study using Portland cement and calcium carbide residue as a promoter in bottom ash geopolymer mortar," Construction and Building Materials, vol. 133, pp. 128-134, 2017. DOI:

L. K. Turner, and F. G. Collins, "Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) emissions: A comparison between geopolymer and OPC cement concrete," Construction and Building Materials, vol. 43, pp. 125-130, 2013. DOI:

M. L. Kumar, and V. Revathi, "Microstructural properties of alkali-activated metakaolin and bottom ash geopolymer," Arabian Journal of Science and Engineering vol. 45, pp. 4235-4246, 2020. DOI:

P. Chindaprasirt, P. De Silva, and S. Hanjitsuwan, "Effect of high-speed mixing on properties of high calcium fly ash geopolymer paste," Arabian Journal of Science and Engineering, vol. 39, pp. 6001-6007, 2014. DOI:

G. Mallikarjuna Rao, and T. D. Gunneswara Rao, "Final setting time and compressive strength of fly ash and ggbs-based geopolymer paste and mortar," Arabian Journal of Science and Engineering, vol. 40, pp. 3067-3074, 2015. DOI:

A. K. Mandal, and O. P. Sinha, "Effect of bottom ash fineness on properties of red mud geopolymer," The Journal of Solid Waste Technology and Management, vol. 43(1), pp. 26-35, 2017. DOI:

J. Davidovits, "Geopolymers based on natural and synthetic metakaolin a critical review," in the 41st International Conference on Advanced Ceramics and Composites: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, vol. 38(3), pp. 201, 2018. DOI:

V. Sata, A. Sathonsaowaphak, and P. Chindaprasirt, "Resistance of lignite bottom ash geopolymer mortar to sulfate and sulfuric acid attack," Cement and Concrete Composites, vol. 34, pp. 700-708, 2012. DOI:

R. K. Paramguru, P. C. Rath, and V. N. Mishra, "Trends in red mud utilization – A review," Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Review, vol. 26(1), pp. 1-29, 2004. DOI:

AluminiumInsider. (6 March, 2018). Creating value out of aluminium waste in India, 2017. Available: https:// india/ DOI:

S. Kumar, R. Kumar, and A. Bandopadhyay, "Innovative methodologies for the utilisation of wastes from metallurgical and allied industries," Resources Conservation and Recycling, vol. 48, pp. 301-314, 2006. DOI:

B. K. Mahapatra, M. B. S. Rao, R. Bhima Rao, and A. K. Paul, "Characteristics of red mud generated at NALCO refinery, Damanjodi, India, Light Metals (Warrensdale, Pa), 2000, pp. 161-170.

C. R. Borra, B. Blanpain, Y. Pontikes, K. Binnemans, and T. Van Gerven, "Recovery of rare earths and other valuable metals from bauxite residue (red mud): A review," Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy, vol. 2, pp. 365-386, 2016. DOI:

T. Hertel, and Y. Pontikes, "Geopolymers, inorganic polymers, alkali-activated materials and hybrid binders from bauxite residue (red mud) – Putting things in perspective," Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 258(10), pp. 120610, 2020. DOI:

A. K. Mandal, H. R. Verma, and O. P. Sinha, "Utilization of aluminum plant’s waste for production of insulation bricks," Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 162, pp. 949-957, 2017. DOI:

A. Rai, A. K. Mandal, K. K. Singh, and T. R. Mankhand, "Preparation and characterization of lime activated unfired bricks made with industrial wastes," International Journal of Waste Resources (IJWR), vol. 3, pp. 40-46, 2013.

S. Samal, A. K. Ray, and A. Bandopadhyay, "Proposal for resources, utilization and processes of red mud in India — A review," International Journal of Mineral Processing, vol. 118, pp. 43-55, 2013. DOI:

V. Ajay, C. Rajeev, and R. K. Yadav, "Effect of micro silica on the strength of concrete with ordinary portland cement," Research Journal of Engineering Sciences, vol. 1(3), pp. 1-4, 2012.

F. N. Okoye, J. Durgaprasad, and N. B. Singh, "Effect of silica fume on the mechanical properties of fly ash based-geopolymer concrete," Ceramic International, vol. 42, pp. 3000-3006, 2016. DOI:

J. Schalij, "High-quality sands for calcium-silicate brick production," Aufbereit Tech, vol. 37, pp. 368-372, 1996.

A. Kumar, and S. Kumar, Development of paving blocks from synergistic use of red mud and fly ash using geopoly-merization," Construction and Building Materials, vol. 38, pp. 865-871, 2013. DOI:

S. N. M. Hairi, G. N. L. Jameson, J. J. Rogers, and K. J. D. MacKenzie, "Synthesis and properties of inorganic polymers (geopolymers) derived from Bayer process residue (red mud) and bauxite," Journal of Materials Science, vol. 50(23), pp. 7713-7724, 2015. DOI:

J. He, Y. Jie, J. Zhang, Y. Yu, and G. Zhang, "Properties of chemically combusted calcium carbide residue and its influence on cement properties," Materials (Basel), vol. 37, pp. 108-118, 2013.

J. V. N. Raju, T. C. Rao, and V. Ravindra, "An experimental study on fly ash-based geopolymer concrete," Engineering Sciences International Research Journal, vol. 1, pp. 108-112, 2013.

X. Ke, S. A. Bernal, N. Ye, J. L. Provis, and J. Yang, "One-part geopolymers based on thermally treated red mud/NaOH blends," Journal of the American Ceramic Society, vol. 98(1), pp. 5-11, 2015. DOI:

L. P. Ogorodova, L. V. Mel’chakova, M. F. Vigasina, L. V. Olysich, and I. V. Pekov, "Cancrinite and cancrisilite in the Khibina-Lovozero alkaline complex: Thermochemical and thermal data," Geochemistry International, vol. 47(3), pp. 260-267, 2009. DOI:

R. N. Thakur, and S. Ghosh, "Effect of mix composition on compressive strength and microstructure of fly ash based geopolymer composites," Journal of Engineering and Appliled Sciences, vol. 4(4), pp. 68-74, 2009.

J. N. Y. Djobo, A. Elimbi, H. K. Tchakouté, and S. Kumar, "Mechanical activation of volcanic ash for geopolymer synthesis: effect on reaction kinetics, gel characteristics, physical and mechanical properties," RSC Advances, vol. 6(45), pp. 39106- 39117, 2016. DOI:

S. Alonso, and A. Palomo, "Alkaline activation of metakaolin and calcium hydroxide mixtures: Influence of temperature, activator concentration and solids ratio," Materials Letters, vol. 47(1-2), pp. 55-62, 2001. DOI:

D. Khale, and R. Chaudhary, "Mechanism of geopolymerization and factors influencing its development: A review," Journal of Materials Science, vol. 42(3), pp. 729-746, 2007. DOI:

D. Taylor, "Strength-component size relationship for high-tension insulator whiteware," British Ceramic Transacctions. vol. 88(6), pp. 209-212, 1989.

J. Davidovits, M. Davidovics, and N. Davidovits, "Process for obtaining a geopolymeric aluminosilicate and products thus obtained," U.S. Patent 5,342,595, August 30, 1994.

V. F. F. Barbosa, K. J. D. MacKenzie, and C. Thaumaturgo, "Synthesis and characterisation of materials based on inorganic polymers of alumina and silica: Sodium polysialate polymers," International Journal of Inorganic Materials, vol. 2(4), pp. 309-317, 2000. DOI:

K. Boonserm, V. Sata, K. Pimraksa, and P. Chindaprasirt, "Improved geopolymerization of bottom ash by incorporating fly ash and using waste gypsum as additive," Cement and Concrete Composite. vol. 34(7), pp. 819-824, 2012. DOI:

Y. Fang, Y. Gu, Q. Kang, Q. Wen, and P. Dai, "Utilization of copper tailing for autoclaved sand – lime brick," Constructure and Building Materials, vol. 25(25), pp. 867-872, 2011. DOI:

C. Shi, and R. L. Day, "Pozzolanic reaction in the presence of chemical activators: Part II — Reaction products and mechanism," Cement and Concrete Research, vol. 30(4), pp. 607-613, 2000. DOI:

A. K. Mandal, "Production of lime-stabilized thermal insulation bricks using aluminum mine tailing," Journal of The Institution of Engineers (India): Series A, vol. 102(1), pp. 249-258, 2021. DOI:

S. Prasanphan, A. Wannagon, T. Kobayashi, and S. Jiemsirilers, "Microstructure evolution and mechanical properties of calcined kaolin processing waste-based geopolymers in the presence of different alkali activator content by pressing and casting", Journal of Metals, Materials and Minerals,vol. 30(3), pp. 121-132, 2020.

P. N. Lemougna, K. J. D. MacKenzie, G. N. L. Jameson, H. Rahier, and U. F. Chinje Melo, "The role of iron in the formation of inorganic polymers (geopolymers) from volcanic ash: A 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy study," Journal of Materials Science, vol.48(15), pp. 5280-5286, 2013. DOI:

P. Duxson, A. Fernández-Jiménez, J. L. Provis, G. C. Lukey, A. Palomo, and J. S. J. van Deventer, "Geopolymer technology: the current state of the art," Journal of Materials Science, vol. 42(9), pp. 2917-2933, 2007. DOI:

H. K. Kim, J. H. Jeon, and H. K. Lee, "Flow, water absorption, and mechanical characteristics of normal- and high-strength mortar incorporating fine bottom ash aggregates," Constructure and Building Materials, vol. 26(1), pp. 249-256, 2012. DOI:

S. K. Amin, S. A. El-Sherbiny, A. A. M. A. El-Magd, A. Belal, and M. F. Abadir, "Fabrication of geopolymer bricks using ceramic dust waste," Constructure and Building Materials, vol. 157, pp.610-620, 2017. DOI:

Y. M. Liew, H. Kamarudin, A. M. Mustafa Al Bakri, M. Bnhussain, M. Luqman, I. Khairul Nizar, C. M. Ruzaidi, and C. Y. Heah, "Optimization of solids-to-liquid and alkali activator ratios of calcined kaolin geopolymeric powder," Constructure and Building Materials, vol. 37, pp. 440-451, 2012. DOI:




How to Cite

A. K. Mandal, “Synthesis of a two-part geopolymer from red mud and silica fume”, J Met Mater Miner, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 10–18, Jun. 2021.



Original Research Articles