Unexplored alternative use of calcareous sludge from the paper-pulp industry in green geopolymer construction materials

Manfredi Saeli, David M. Tobaldi, Luciano Senff, João Carvalheiras, João A. Labrincha, Maria Paula Seabra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Calcareous sludge is an alkaline waste produced by the paper pulp industry that is commonly disposed of in land-fill. However, recent studies and the European regulations discourage such practice. This work investigates an alternative and innovative way to recycle and reuse this waste, as filler, in the production of green geopolymeric mortars intended for applications in construction. This is the first time that this calcareous sludge is used to produce novel waste-based materials, in both construction and geopolymer technology. The novel alkali-activated mortar also uses biomass fly ash – another slightly investigated waste stream – to substitute the metakaolin (70 wt% substitution) and the manufacture process is performed at ambient conditions. All of that reduces the overall process footprint. The implemented mix design is aimed at maximising the waste incorporation and improving the material properties, such as workability and mechanical performance. The main results demonstrate that 10 wt% of calcareous sludge can be efficaciously used as filler in the geopolymeric mortars, generating up to 30% improvement in the mechanical resistance. This alternative use of such wastes will contribute to increase the sustainability of the novel construction materials also granting environmental advantages and a financial surplus for the industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118457-
Number of pages9
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science

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