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Developing Ultralow-Binder-Content Composites as Green Construction Materials

Abstract

The objective of this research is to develop an environmentally friendly construction material, referred to as the ultralow-binder-content (UBC) composite. Compared to ordinary portland cement, a UBC composite has a much lower binder content, which helps decrease carbon emission, save energy, minimize materials cost, and face the challenge of the declining supply of class F fly ash. In general, the UBC composites use regular aggregates as the filler, such as sand, crushed limestones, and gravels. The binder can be a polymer (e.g., epoxy), a geopolymer, or a combination thereof. For special applications, the filler can be carbon powders. The key step in the processing procedure is the compaction self-assembly (CSA). It takes advantage of a relatively high pressure to compress the filler particles, which promotes the binder dispersion and favorably controls the stoichiometry. In a produced UBC composite, the binder is not continuous, but aggregated at the most critical load-carrying microstructural sites as micro-agglomerations. The CSA operation can be performed quasi-statically or dynamically. For large samples, the compaction can be completed section by section.

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