Mordenite-rich tuff is one of most available zeolitic rocks all over the world. Because of this, the research of natural mordenite as a raw material of geopolymeric materials can provide an almost unlimited source of solid precursor for manufacturing such building materials. Despite efforts to shed light on the behaviour of mordenite-rich tuff during geopolymeric reaction, the performance of these novel materials is barely understood. The aim of this study is to explore the effect of the content of calcium hydroxide, CH, and water-to-solid ratio, W/S, as mixing parameters on compressive strength of mordenite-based geopolymers, MBG, and its thermal conductivity.
As solid precursor was used mordenite-rich tuff and mixed with sodium hydroxide (NaOH) at 10M that kept constant during the experiment. Two experimental parameters were selected as independent variables i.e, the content of CH and water-to-solid ratio, and their levels, according to a central composite experimental design. All these designed mixes were characterized by using quantitative X-ray diffraction (QXRD), Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Thermogravimetry and differential scanning calorimetry (TGA-DSC), scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersed spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), in addition thermal conductivity tests were also run according to standard method ASTM C177 at 9, 24, 39°C. The overall results suggested that MBG can be used as building material, however its thermal conductivity was higher than that of commercial isolate building material. The experimental design analysis indicated that the optimum water-to-solid ratio was 0.35, but in the case of the content of CH, the optimum value was not observed on this experimental range because the compressive strength increased as the content of CH increased as well. The compressive strength of MBG was observed in the range between 8.7 and 11.3 MPa. On the other hand, QXRD and FTIR showed that mordenite reacted during the geopolymeric reaction, but instead quartz, also found in zeolitic tuff, acted as inert filler.