Extensive use of waste glass in one-part alkali-activated materials: towards sustainable construction practices

M. H. Samarakoon, P. G. Ranjith, Wen Hui Duan, Asadul Haque, Bernard K. Chen

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The feasibility of the extensive recycling of waste glass in alkali-activated materials (AAMs) was evaluated. The waste glass was utilised in AAMs for two purposes: a partial activator and a mineral precursor. The waste glass was blended with commercial sodium hydroxide and then heated to produce the solid activator powder. The technical performance of waste glass-based activator was investigated to replace commercial sodium silicate, a common alkali-activator used in AAMs. The effect of waste glass using only as the activator (WGA) and using as both activator and precursor (WGAP) in fly ash/slag-based one-part AAMs was studied using strength and microstructure characterisations. A mass-cost and emission analysis of waste glass-based AAMs (WGA and WGAP) was conducted, comparing the results with ordinary Portland cement (OPC). Characterisation tests of waste glass-based activator showed the effective formation of sodium silicate minerals with the adequate dissolution of activator in water by releasing reactive alkali and silica. Both WGA and WGAP showed comparable strengths at 56 days with a denser microstructure under ambient curing. According to mass analysis, waste glass could be utilised up to 17% by mass of total binder. Based on the analysis of cost and CO2 emissions, WGA and WGAP are around 23% and 15% cheaper and 84% and 82% greener than OPC. The dual role of waste glass in AAMs as an activator and as a precursor broadens the recycling of glass waste in the cement industry by favouring technical and environmental outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalWaste Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • Dual role
  • One-part AAMs
  • Waste glass
  • Waste recycling

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