Characterisation of metakaolin-based geopolymers using beam-based and conventional PALS

The nano-porosity of metakaolin-based geopolymers and the effect of heat-treatment on porosity have been studied with conventional and beam-based positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy (PALS). Conventional PALS found significant nano-porosity in the geopolymers, as indicated by the presence in the PALS spectrum of two long lifetime components, τ3 = 1.58 ns and τ4 = 47 ns, associated with pore diameters of approximately 0.5 and 3 nm respectively. The lifetime of the shorter component was found to decrease monotonically with successive heat treatments of 300°C and 600°C. Beam-based PALS, conducted at 5 keV, also indicated two long lifetime components, τ3 = 4.84 ns and τ4 = 54.6 ns. These are significantly longer than those observed by conventional PALS and the monotonic decrease of τ3 with successive heat treatments was not observed. As the beam-based PALS probed only the near-surface region, with an average implantation depth of about 350 nm, these results suggest that the near-surface structure may vary significantly from that of the bulk. This could be an inherent property of the samples or an artefact caused by surface effects or sample outgassing. © Copyright 2020 IOP Publishing
Positrons, Annihilation, Particle beams, Inorganic polymers, Heat treatments, Porosity
Guagliardo, P., Roberts, J., Vance, E. R., Weed, R., Sergeant, A. D., Howie, A., Wilkie, P., Went, M., Sullivan, J., Williams, J., Samarin, S., Buckman, S. (2010). Characterisation of metakaolin-based geopolymers using beam-based and conventional PALS. Paper presented at the 12th International Workshop on Slow Positron Beam Techniques for Solids, Surfaces, Atoms and Molecules (SLOPOS12), 1st - 6th August 2010. All Seasons Resort: Magnetic Island, North Queensland, Australia. In Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 262(1), 012023. doi:10.1088/1742-6596/262/1/012023