IntroductionRapid population growth and industrial development have created great demands for human settlements. A still greater burden will fall on cities, towns, and rural communities in the near future. Developing countries already have acute housing shortages because of rapid population growth and sometimes due to natural disasters. Under normal conditions in developing countries, the roof of a dwelling structure constitutes the major expense, often as much as 60% of the total cost. For most people a long-lasting roof is too expensive. Ferrocement appears to have superior advantages over several other roofing materials and could well play a major role in housing construction in developing countries. The term ferrocement is commonly applied to a mixture of Portland cement and sand reinforced using number of layers of woven or expanded steel mesh.
Volume wise cement mortar is the major component involved in ferrocement technology. However, the production of one ton of cement emits approximately about one ton of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Moreover, cement production is not only highly energy-intensive but also consumes significant amount of natural resources. In order to meet the infrastructure developments, the usage of mortar is on the increase. On the other hand, already huge volumes of fly ash are generated around the world. But most of the fly ash is not effectively used and a large quantity of fly ash is disposed in landfills. As the need for power increases, the volume of fly ash would also increase. Fly ash which is considered to be a waste material is rich in silica and alumina and hence can be used safely as a source material for the manufacture of geopolymer mortars. Hence research efforts to find ferrocement modifications by utilising fly ash that prove less expensive or easier to manufacture are highly recommended in the present scenario.
From the past literatures, it was noted that geopolymer mortars show many advantages. Geopolymer mortar show substantially superior resistance to fire and acid attack and much less shrinkage than conventional cement mortar. These advantages make the geopolymer mortar a strong substitute for replacing Ordinary Portland Cement based mortar. Therefore, an attempt has been made in the present investigation to study the strength characteristics of ferro-geopolymer slabs prepared using geopolymer mortar considering fly ash as a major source material and a combination of sodium hydroxide and sodium silicate solutions as alkaline activators.
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