Experimental Evaluation Of Rice Husk Ash For Applications In Geopolymer Mortars
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Rice husks obtained from upland and lowland rice varieties were characterized for composition and content of ash. Each of the rice husk varieties was fired at temperatures of 600, 800 and 900 °C for a soaking period of 3 h. The resultant rice husk ash was analyzed for oxide composition and crystallinity using X-ray fluorescence and diffraction techniques, respectively. The generated amorphous ash with the highest silica content, together with metakaolin, aggregate, water, and an alkaline activator was employed to formulate geo-polymer mortar prisms according to the standard EN 196–1. Results showed that the content of ash in the varieties ranged from 18.3% to 28.6% dry basis. Out of this, 89 wt%–96 wt% was silica, with amorphous and crystalline forms of silica obtained at 600 °C and 900 °C, respectively, regardless of the rice variety. However, at 800 °C, the silica in the generated ash exhibited both amorphous and crystalline forms. The amorphous ash generated at 600 °C was used in formulation of geopolymer mortars. Compressive and flexural strength of the formulated mortar after 7 days of curing was 1.5 and 1.3 MPa, respectively. These results reveal the firing protocol to form pozzolanic ash, with potential applications in mortar production.