What are geopolymers?

Geopolymers are new materials for fire- and heat-resistant coatings and adhesives, medicinal applications, high-temperature ceramics, new binders for fire-resistant fiber composites, toxic and radioactive waste encapsulation and new cements for concrete. The properties and uses of geopolymers are being explored in many scientific and industrial disciplines: modern inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, colloid chemistry, mineralogy, geology, and in other types of engineering process technologies.

Along with the discovery of the geopolymer chemistry, the research was applications driven and generated numerous patents, especially in the 1980-1990's, but few scientific papers. This is demonstrated in the number of research publications in this field; according to Scopus database, during the period from 1984-1999, there were typically between 1 to 3 publications per year (namely those of the Geopolymer Institute). The number has been steadily increasing only since year 2000. Several products are already industrialized and commercialized since the 1980's. See at the Geopolymer Institute internet, the page Who is selling geopolymers.

What research has been done, and where is it heading?

A road map for geopolymer science innovation and research was submitted at the 2nd International Congress on Ceramics, Verona, Italy, 2008. This Road Map comprises 16 research targets. Progresses and breakthroughs in each one of these research targets are introduced every year in the keynote State of Geopolymer R&D, at the Geopolymer Camp (see the videos GP-Camp 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 at Geopolymer Camp).

Keeping this road map in mind, and to further facilitate third-party research on geopolymer science, Elsevier and the Geopolymer Institute have agreed to join forces, distill and distribute the best research publications contained in their combined archives, through a series of Elsevier-Geopolymer Institute Virtual Special Issues on Geopolymer Science. All of the research presented in these Virtual Special Issues will be freely accessible for one year after release.

In the aftermath of various catastrophic fires in France between 1970-73, which involved common organic plastic, research on non-flammable and non-combustible polymer materials became our objective. We founded in Saint-Quentin, France, a private research company in 1972, called CORDI SA and later Cordi-GÉOPOLYMÈRE. Raw materials used in these synthesis of silicon-based polymers are mainly rock-forming minerals of geological origin, hence the name: geopolymer. This term was first introduced in 1978 and we created on May 1979 the non-profit French scientific institution Institut Géopolymère, in English Geopolymer Institute. The Geopolymer Institute holds a unique archive of specific geopolymer publications, represented by conference papers, journal articles, published research reports for free download on the Geopolymer Institute website at Geopolymer technical papers, as well as patents at Geopolymer Patents .

Elsevier is the world’s largest academic publisher and has an archive of over nine million articles on ScienceDirect. They publish a number of leading materials science, chemical engineering, minerals processing, environmental science, engineering and technology, construction materials journals.

Want to know more about Geopolymers? Read a feature article about it here.