Influence of curing temperature and pressure on the mechanical and microstructural development of metakaolin-based geopolymers

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



This research investigates the mechanical and microstructural evolution of a metakaolin-based geopolymer (GP) subjected to combined temperature and pressure curing conditions. The study's methodology encompassed measuring compressive strengths through both ultrasonic cement analysis (UCA) and destructive uniaxial testing. To evaluate thermal stability, pore size distribution, and morphology, the study employed thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP), and environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM), respectively. The findings indicate that a curing temperature of 90 °C encourages the development of regular nanoporosity, while higher temperatures contribute to increased porosity. Conversely, curing pressure was found to either promote or inhibit the material's reorganization, with pressures of 20 MPa facilitating and those above 40 MPa preventing this process. An enhancement in the refinement of macropores to micropores was observed across all pressure levels. The optimal curing conditions, in terms of both mechanical and morphological characteristics, were identified as 50 °C and 20 MPa for a minimum duration of one day, which yielded a 177 % improvement in compressive strength compared to curing at 21°C under atmospheric pressure. This study significantly advances the understanding of pressurized thermal curing processes for the rapid setting of geopolymers, presenting new avenues for diverse applications.


Original languageEnglish
Article number135852
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2024



  • Geopolymer, Microstructural evolution, Pressure, Rapid setting, Temperature