Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis


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College of Engineering and Computing

First Advisor

Paul Ziehl


Development of sustainable construction materials has been the focus of research efforts worldwide in recent years. Concrete is a major construction material; hence, finding alternatives to ordinary Portland cement is of extreme importance due to high levels of carbon dioxide emissions associated with its manufacturing process. Geopolymer concrete is a potential solution; however, concerns about the high cost and the low real fuel energy efficiency are obstacles against its increase in the market share.

In this thesis, the current cost and fuel (thermal energy) usage are calculated. In addition, the cost and fuel usage were optimized based on previous experimental results. The results show that geopolymer concrete cost can be reduced using Portland cement in low percentage replacement (5-35%). The required fuel usage (thermal energy) for producing geopolymer concrete was lower than Portland cement. Using Portland cement and reducing sodium hydroxide concentration not only reduce the cost of geopolymer concrete but also reduce the fuel usage. Based on the results of the study, the sodium hydroxide and silica fume have a significant role in the fuel usage and the cost. Three new mixtures were proposed to reduce the cost. Additionally, the fuel usage was 30% lower than Portland cement. Marketing and communication plans showed that geopolymer concrete industries could be profitable because geopolymer concrete can be used for varied civil engineering applications including sidewalks, concrete panels, etc.

The best locations to start the business were proposed, including some cities in the north east or east of the United States such as Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Charlotte. Internationally, China was considered the best place to start the business due to the availability of raw materials and affordable prices.

Available for download on Monday, May 06, 2019