Alkali-activated metakaolin (AAMK) is a type of aluminosilicate-rich material often regarded as a potential alternative to ordinary Portland cement due to a smaller carbon footprint. However, the multiscale pore structure of AAMK, and how it is influenced by availability of free silica from the activator, remains largely unknown. Here, a Monte Carlo simulation approach is employed to generate the pore structure of AAMKs with different activator silicate moduli (SiO2/Na2O ratio). The simulation-derived pore size distributions are compared with experimental data obtained using nitrogen sorption (NAD) to assess the validity of the simulation results where qualitative agreement is obtained. The larger length scale pores in AAMKs are characterized using NAD and mercury intrusion porosimetry. This study stresses the importance of using complementary pore characterization techniques when investigating materials with multiscale pore structures, and shows the promise of the simulation approach to predict key transport properties of AAMKs and other cementitious materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106212
JournalCement and Concrete Research
StatePublished - Nov 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)


  • Amorphous aluminosilicate
  • Coarse grained Monte Carlo
  • Mercury intrusion porosimetry
  • Nitrogen sorption
  • Pore size distribution

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