Simultaneous effects of rice husk silica and silicon carbide whiskers on the mechanical properties and morphology of sodium geopolymer

Akm Samsur Rahman, Chirag Shah, Nikhil Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current research is focused on developing a geopolymer binder using rice husk ash–derived silica nanoparticles. Four types of rice husks were collected directly from various rice fields of Bangladesh in order to evaluate the pozzolanic activity and compatibility of the derived rice husk ashes with precursors of sodium-based geopolymers. Silicon carbide whiskers were introduced into sodium-based geopolymers in order to evaluate the response of silicon carbide whiskers to the interfacial bonding and strength of sodium-based geopolymers along with rice husk ashes. Compression, flexural and short beam shear tests were performed to investigate the synergistic effect of rice husk ashes–derived silica and commercially available silicon carbide whiskers. Results show that rice husk ashes–derived spherical silica nanoparticles reduced nano-porosity of the geopolymers by ∼20% and doubled the compressive strength. The simultaneous additions of rice husk ashes and silicon carbide whiskers resulted in flexural strength improvement by ∼27% and ∼97%, respectively. The increase in compressive strength due to the inclusion of silica nanoparticles is related to the reduction in porosity. The increase in flexural strength due to simultaneous inclusion of silica and silicon carbide whiskers suggest that silica particles are compatible with the metakaolin-based geopolymers, which is effective in consolidation. Finally, microscopy suggest that silicon carbide whiskers are effective in increasing bridged network and crack resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4611-4620
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Composite Materials
Issue number29
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Rice husk ash
  • cementitious composite
  • crack bridging; dispersion strengthening
  • fire resistance
  • geopolymer
  • metakaolin
  • whiskers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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