Ignimbrites Related to Neogene Volcanism in the Southeast of the Iberian Peninsula: An Experimental Study to Establish Their Pozzolanic Character

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The speed at which climate change is happening is leading to a demand for new pozzolanic materials that improve the quality of cements and, at the same time, limit the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The main objective of this work is the detailed characterization of an ignimbrite sample (IGNS) to demonstrate its effectiveness as a natural pozzolan. To meet this objective, a series of tests were carried out. In the first stage, mineral and chemical analyses were performed, such as petrographic analysis by thin section (TSP), X-ray diffraction (XRD), oriented aggregate (OA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF). In the second stage, the following technical tests were carried out: chemical quality analysis (QCA), pozzolanicity test (PT) and mechanical compressive strength (MS) at 7, 28 and 90 days, using mortar specimens with ignimbrite/cement formulation (IGNS/PC): 10, 25 and 40% to establish the pozzolanic nature of the ignimbrite. The results of the mineral and chemical analyses showed that the sample has a complex mineralogical constitution, consisting of biotite mica, potassium feldspar, plagioclase, smectite (montmorillonite), quartz, volcanic glass, iron, titanium and manganese oxides, chlorite and chlorapatite. On the other hand, the technological tests revealed the pozzolanic nature of the sample, as well as visible increases in the mechanical compressive strengths in the three proportions, the most effective being IGNS/PC:10% and IGNS/PC:25% at 7, 28 and 90 days of setting. The results obtained could be applied in the formulation of new pozzolanic cements with ignimbrite as a natural pozzolanic aggregate.
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