Evolution, as described by Charles Darwin is the ability to adapt, compete and ultimately flourish in an ever-changing world. Civil engineering, more specifically concrete technology is no different in the science and our understanding of this complex system is continuously evolving. Conventional concrete technology has been based on and around the use of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) since the mid to late 19th century when Joseph Aspdin obtained a patent for a material produced by burning chalk with clay in a lime kiln. Despite the numerous uses and benefits of OPC based concrete, there are growing concerns over the environmental impact and the energy consumption required to produce the material, as well as, the depletion of quarried resources. As industrial requirements advance, all avenues of cutting-edge developments must be pursued in order to stay ahead of the evolution curve. One of these developments is the use of high OPC replacement levels with PFa and GGBS in concrete. A recent example is the replacement of 100% OPC with fly ash (PFa), ground-granulated blastfurnace slag (GGBS) and micro silica (MS) etc., and their activation with high alkali solution(s). This process is affectionately referred to/identified as geopolymer concrete or alkali-activated material (AAM). Going forward the term geopolymer will be used as it is preferred by most researchers in the industry.
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