This study investigated how different rest times affect the strength development of fly-ash-based alkali-activated mortar (aam) over a period of 90 days. Two types of fly ash with varying calcium oxide contents of 37 and 21% were used. The rest times ranged from 2 to 36 h, and three curing methods (ambient, oven, and steam) were tested. The results showed that the rest time significantly influenced the compressive strength of the aam. The optimal rest time was found to be between 12 and 30 h depending on the curing method and fly ash type. Beyond this range, there were only minor changes in strength. One type of fly ash (fa21) showed higher strength with longer rest times up to 30 h, while the other type (fa37) had the highest strength within a rest time range of from 12 to 24 h. Over the 90-day period, the specimens cured under ambient, oven, and steam conditions at 55 °c (131 °f) experienced increasing strength, but those steam-cured at 80 °c (176 °f) showed a decrease in strength. Analysis revealed the formation of hydration products in fa37, while fa21 showed a reduction in peaks for its main compounds. Additionally, xrd analysis revealed the formation of hydration products (csh and cash) in fa37, while fa21 displayed a reduction in peaks for its main compounds. Eds analysis indicated the presence of partially unreacted fa particles, highlighting the impact of curing methods on dissolving fa particles and the formation of geopolymer products (nash and cnash) responsible for compressive strength development.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Publication Status

Open Access


Ameren Corporation, Grant None

Keywords and Phrases

alkali-activated mortar; ambient curing; class C FA; long-term strength development; oven curing; rest time; steam curing

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2024 The Authors, All rights reserved.

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2024