Nanomaterial and fiber-reinforced sustainable geopolymers: A systematic critical review

Ünal M., Gökçe H., Ayough P., Alnahhal A., ŞİMŞEK O., Nehdi M.

Construction and Building Materials, vol.404, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 404
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2023.133325
  • Journal Name: Construction and Building Materials
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, INSPEC, Metadex, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Fibers, Geopolymers, Mechanical properties, Nanomaterials
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Global cement production is associated with a colossal environmental footprint due to its considerable carbon emissions, energy consumption, depletion of natural resources, and waste accumulation. Geopolymer based concretes (GCs) have emerged as revolutionary alternatives to ordinary Portland cement concrete with enormous potential ecological benefits. However, they suffer from deficiencies, such as their brittle behavior under flexural and tensile loads. Using different types of fiber reinforcement and nanomaterial additions in geopolymer composites (GCs) has recently gained considerable attention to enhance various engineering properties, improve crack resistance, toughness, and ductility of the geopolymer matrices. This systematic and critical review analyses the effects of different reinforcing fibers and nanomaterials on the compressive and tensile strengths, modulus of elasticity, and impact resistance of GCs, and highlights the associated microstructural features. It is shown that carbon, basalt, and steel fibers can impart considerable improvement in mechanical strength, modulus of elasticity, and impact resistance of GCs. Furthermore, the introduction of polyethylene fibers has been shown to induce complex cracking behaviors, thereby contributing to the strain-hardening capability of geopolymer matrices. The integration of nanomaterials into GCs has emerged as a powerful strategy for achieving substantial enhancements in mechanical performance. Optimal nanomaterial dosages, typically around 2%, have been identified, with the specific surface area of nanoparticles proving to be a crucial determinant of the resulting mechanical properties. Notably, nano-silica has exhibited pronounced macro-scale reinforcement effects, whereas nano-titanium has displayed the potential to significantly enhance gel micromechanical characteristics. Additionally, synergistic combinations of nanomaterials and fiber reinforcements have led to the development of novel and distinctive mechanical properties within GCs. The synthesis of these findings underscores current best practices, highlights areas requiring further investigation, and emphasizes the need for concerted research efforts to advance the knowledge and implementation of sustainable geopolymers. This review offers a comprehensive analysis of the effects of fiber reinforcements and nanomaterials on geopolymer composites, providing valuable insights for researchers and practitioners.