Development and Optimization of Geopolymers Made with Desert Dune Sand and Blast Furnace Slag

Abdulkader El-Mir, Hilal El-Hassan, Amr El-Dieb, Abdelrahman Alsallamin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This study assesses the effect of mix design parameters on the fresh and hardened prop-erties, cost, and carbon footprint of geopolymer mortar made with desert dune fines (DDF) and blast furnace slag (BFS). Taguchi method was employed in designing the experiments. Four factors were considered, each having three levels, leading to a total of nine geopolymer mortar mixes. The factors comprised the DDF replacement percentage, alkali-activator solution to binder ratio (AAS/B), sodium silicate-to-sodium hydroxide ratio (SS/SH), and sodium hydroxide (SH) molarity. Ten performance criteria were evaluated, including the flowability, final setting time, hardened density, 1, 7, and 28-day compressive strengths, water absorption, sorptivity, cost, and carbon footprint. ANOVA was carried out to estimate the contribution of each factor towards the response criteria. Further, TOPSIS analysis was utilized to optimize the mixture proportions of DDF-BFS blended geopolymer mortar. Experimental results showed that up to 25% DDF replacement enhanced the density, strength, and durability of the geopolymers with minor impact on the flowability and setting time. Higher replacement percentages had a detrimental impact on the performance but could still be utilized in specific mortar construction applications. The other factors had more limited contribu-tions to the performance, evidenced by the ANOVA. TOPSIS method revealed the optimum mix to be made with DDF replacement of 25%, AAS/B of 0.5, SS/SH of 1.5, and SH molarity of 10 M. Different multivariable regression models were also developed to predict the fresh and hardened properties of the DDF-BFS geopolymer mortars using the mix design parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7845
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2022


  • dune sand
  • geopolymer
  • mortar
  • optimization
  • slag
  • sustainability
  • taguchi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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