Carbonation of Fe-rich slag-based inorganic polymer - mineralogy, microstructure, strength, and water permeability

Research output


The escalating threat of global warming and climate change, primarily driven by increased atmospheric CO2 emissions, necessitates urgent action. This research explores the role of inorganic polymers (IPs), specifically those enriched with iron and derived from industrial processes, as a sustainable alternative to ordinary Portland cement (OPC). The background goal is to deliver low-CO2 binders. The primary objective of this master's thesis is to examine the alterations in water permeability, microstructure, mineralogy and strength of Fe-rich slag-based inorganic polymers subjected to accelerated carbonation. Samples undergo curing, including preconditioning (necessary step to prepare the material for the carbonation process), and carbonation under specific conditions, and experiments are conducted on all three curing stages. Comprehensive characterization tests, which encompassed carbonation depth, flexural and compressive strength, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and mercury intrusion porosimetry provided insights into the microstructural, mechanical, and porosity variations induced by carbonation. This research contributes to the evolving understanding of IPs, offering a pathway to sustainable binder production of reduced environmental impact. The findings are expected to aid in the development of future research strategies aimed at environmentally friendly alternatives in the construction industry.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Science
Awarding Institution
  • KU Leuven
  • Nguyen, Thi Nhan, SCK CEN Mentor
  • Phung, Quoc Tri, SCK CEN Mentor
  • Pontikes, Yiannis, Supervisor, External person
Date of Award17 Jan 2024
StatePublished - May 2023

Cite this