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Advances in Materials Science and Engineering
Volume 2018, Article ID 9392743, 8 pages
Research Article

Physicochemical Characterization of Geopolymer Binders and Foams Made from Tunisian Clay

1Department of Materials, National School of Engineers of Sfax, 3038 Sfax, Tunisia
2Laboratory of Composite Materials and Clay Minerals, National Center for Research in Materials Sciences (CNRSM), 8020 Soliman, Tunisia
3Higher Institute of Science and Techniques of Water of Gabès, University of Gabès, Zrig, 6072 Gabès, Tunisia

Correspondence should be addressed to Imen Ben Messaoud; moc.liamg@91duoassemnebnemi

Received 28 August 2017; Accepted 11 December 2017; Published 4 February 2018

Academic Editor: Marino Lavorgna

Copyright © 2018 Imen Ben Messaoud et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Illito-kaolinitic clay rich in hematite from south Tunisia was investigated in view of producing geopolymer materials. Geopolymers with two different densities were elaborated: cement and foam. The effects of activator concentrations on compressive strength, water absorption (durability), open porosity, and bulk density of geopolymers cement were examined, in order to assure optimal geopolymerization conditions. Geopolymer cements aged 28 days with optimum performances were achieved for 13 M of alkaline solution concentration. At these conditions, the compressive strength of prepared geopolymer reaches 27.8 MPa. The addition of silica fume to reactant geopolymer mixture induces modification of geopolymer density and decrease in the compressive strength of the final product. Geopolymer materials based on calcined Tunisian clay can be suggested as sustainable and cost-effective cement that may be applied to alternate Portland cement in many construction applications.