Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name



Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

E. Booya

Second Advisor

B. Balasingam

Third Advisor

S. Das




Clay in its natural form is widely used as a construction material for the development of various building products and binders for earthen houses due to the rising cost of traditional building materials. The increasing demand for earthen houses has created the necessity to improve the functional properties of raw clay binders that are being commonly stabilized with Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC). An environmental concern associated with the use of OPC is the major driver to develop a clay binder by using the alkali activation technology.

In this study, clay binders were produced by using various alkali activators and incorporating slag to form a blended alkali activation system. The mechanical and physical properties of developed clay binders were measured at the curing period of 28-days, and the effect of different activators on the physical and mechanical properties of clay binders was assessed. The mechanical and durability properties were measured by compressive strength test, wetting-drying test, water absorption test, and ultrasonic pulse velocity test. Additionally, fresh, thermal, and microstructure properties of the selected optimum binders were studied. The results of the extensive experimental program indicate the alkali activation of clay soil and the clay-slag system is a feasible option to produce an effective hardened, low-cost clay binder. The sodium silicate and calcium hydroxide solutions showed a positive effect on the strength and durability properties of binder made only with clay soil; however, clay-slag blended binder activated with sodium silicate, sodium carbonate, or calcium hydroxide solutions showed enhanced strength and durability properties.

Available for download on Friday, May 31, 2024