Use of natural zeolite as a supplementary cementitious material

Natural zeolite, a type of frame-structured hydrated aluminosilicate mineral, is used abundantly as a type of natural pozzolanic material in some regions of the world. In this work, the effectiveness of a locally quarried zeolite in enhancing mechanical and durability properties of concrete is evaluated and is also compared with other pozzolanic admixtures. The experimental tests included three parts: In the first part, the pozzolanic reactivity of natural zeolite and silica fume were examined by a thermogravimetric method. In this case, the results indicated that natural zeolite was not as reactive as silica fume but it showed a good pozzolanic reactivity. In the second part, zeolite and silica fume were substituted for cement in different proportions in concrete mixtures, and several physical and durability tests of concrete were performed. These experimental tests included slump, compressive strength, water absorption, oxygen permeability, chloride diffusion, and electrical resistivity of concrete. Based on these results, the performance of concretes containing different contents of zeolite improved and even were comparable to or better than that of concretes prepared with silica fume replacements in some cases. Finally, a comparative study on effect of zeolite and fly ash on limiting ASR expansion of mortar was performed according to ASTM C 1260 and ASTM C 1567. Expansion tests on mortar prisms showed that zeolite is as effective as fly ash to prevent deleterious expansion due to ASR.