Alkali Activated Materials and Geopolymers: Sustainable Construction Materials and Ceramics Made Under Ambient Conditions

An ECI Conference Series

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Grand Hotel San Michele
May 28 – June 2, 2023
Calabria, Italy


About This Conference

Alkali activated materials (AAM) and geopolymers are a class of inorganic polymers formed by the reaction between an alkali and an aluminosilicate source. They can be classified as those made from waste materials such as slag and fly ash, which produce cementitious (CSH-type) binders, and those made from calcined clays such as metakaolin or halloysite that produce geopolymers, or nanoporous, nanoparticulate solids consisting of cross-linked silicate and aluminate tetrahedra charge balanced by hydrated alkali ions. As seen in NMR, the former consist of Q2 and Q3 bonded silicate tetrahedra chains and hence are basically cementitious materials. The latter are Q4 bonded tetrahedra having an amorphous structure and are referred to as geopolymers.

Upon heating at temperatures up to ~1,000°C geopolymers convert to polycrystalline, stoichiometric, ceramic compounds with or without the presence of extra glassy phase, depending on their composition. When their composition is M2O•Al2O3•nSiO2 where M is a group I alkali, stoichiometric ceramic compounds can form such as nepheline (Na) or kalsilite (K) for n = 2 and leucite(K) or pollucite(Cs) for n=4. Acid activated geopolymers are also made by reacting phosphoric acid with metakaolin to form inorganic polymeric, alumino silicate phosphates of nominal composition Al2O3•P2O5•2SiO2. On heating to modest temperatures and higher, these crystallize into berlinite-type structures of aluminum phosphate and silicates which are also refractory and scalable.

As self-assembled, nanoporous, nanoparticulate, acid-resistant ceramics, geopolymers have wide potential applications as: fire-resistant structures or coatings, corrosion-resistant coatings; stronger and tougher replacements for cements and concretes; ceramic composites exhibiting “graceful failure” or pseudo-ductility; geopolymers containing glass frit can undergo amorphous self-healing when heated below 1000° (ASH-G) or behave as amorphous, self-healed ceramics when crystallized above 1000°C; nuclear radiation (a,b,g and neutron) shielding; electromagnetic pulse interference (EMI) shielding; porous water purification filters (eg. arsenic, cadmium); refractory glues between ceramics, metals, glass and/or wood); extremely high dielectrics, having dielectric constants up to 1000x higher than those of conventional electronic ceramics.

The alkali-activated, cementitious materials have an amorphous structure making them an ideal substitute for Portland cement in a wide range of applications. Many by-products resulting from high-volume industries can be used as feedstocks for alkali-activated cements (or more broadly, chemically-activated cements), including fly ash, mine tailings, metallurgical slags and bauxite residues.

Alkali activated geopolymers, particularly as refractory composites, have demonstrated desirable mechanical properties such as high flexure strength and toughness, good resistance to acid corrosion, heat and fire resistance up to 1200°C and possibly higher. They have found applications ranging from construction materials, waste immobilization for environmental and nuclear industries, as well as high-tech ceramics and composites such as porous insulators, porous filters for water purification, corrosion resistant metal coatings, 3D and 4D printed forms. Such stoichiometric geopolymers provide versatile, low energy pathways for the synthesis of normal and ultra-high temperature ceramics such as SiC, SiN, and SiAlONs as well as mullite (3Al2O3•2SiO2).

The key goal of the conference is to enable the transfer of information between specialists in these disparate areas of materials science and engineering:

• Significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in construction

• Improve the technical performance of materials used in construction, composites and related products

• Use large volumes of industrial (waste) by-products or low-value natural minerals in place of virgin resources

• Effectively immobilize hazardous, toxic and/or radioactive wastes

• Low energy syntheses of amorphous or crystalline ceramic nano-powders 

• Versatile, low energy processing and forming routes for amorphous or polycrystalline ceramics and composites

This 3rd ECI International Conference, “GEOPOLYMERS and Alkali Activated Cements: Sustainable construction materials and ceramics made under ambient conditions”, planned for the year 2022, aims to collect scientific and industrial contributions, to find technical solutions enabling the application of geopolymers and related materials, to reduce waste and emissions in ceramic and cement manufacturing, and to provide high-performance, scalable, ceramic materials.

Those who have undertaken a significant research effort in this direction will be invited from all over the world to join the Conference. This will build from the high attendance and successful outcomes from the first ECI Geopolymers conference, which was held in Hernstein, Austria, in June 2015 and the second ECI Geopolymers conference held in Tomar, Portugal in May 29th – June 3rd (2018).

The further success of this conference series will represent a step toward meeting the global material needs of society with significantly reduced energy requirements as well as ecological impacts

Conference Organization

Conference Chairs

W.M. Kriven, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Cristina Leonelli, Universita’ degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy
John L. Provis, University of Sheffield, UK
Aldo R. Boccaccini, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany

Call for Abstracts and Publication of Abstracts

Submission of Abstracts 

One-page abstracts should be submitted as soon as possible and no later than the deadlines noted below.  The abstract should include both the significance of the research as well as results that will be discussed to allow a scientific assessment of the work by the organizers. Please indicate if the abstract is for an oral or poster presentation. Only a limited number of oral presentation slots are available.  Thus all submissions for oral presentations will be considered for both oral and poster. 


Abstracts for oral presentation: February 22, 2023
Abstracts for poster presentations: February 22, 2023

All abstracts should be submitted electronically and submissions must follow the template: docx or doc.

In addition to the Abstract brochure, full manuscripts will be published as a special issue of the International Journal of Ceramics Engineering and Science which will publish open access at a reduced publication charge.

For inquiries on the publication charges, please contact Jonathon Foreman, Managing Editor, at

Submit your manuscript at

Venue Information

Grand Hotel San Michele

Cetraro and Grand Hotel San Michele

Cetraro Marina, a pleasant seaside resort is about two km from the Cetraro Commune of which it is a part.  The ancient Citrarium (name derived from the abundant citrus cultivation in the area) was a center of the Bruzi rising between Paola and Capo Bonifati.  Its coast location offers many interesting boat excursions.

Grand Hotel San Michele

The picturesque Grand Hotel San Michele is situated on the Tyrrhenian Coast, 120 meters above the Mediterranean Sea, with a fantastic view of Calabria’s southern coast.  It offers visitors one of the prettiest locations Southern Italy has to offer and is considered by many to be one of Calabria’s finest hotels.  Its beach (120 meters below the cliffs) is accessible only by a private special elevator.  The hotel has a swimming pool, driving range, tennis court, minigolf, piano bar and billiard room.

The hotel is surrounded by an organic farm that provides the hotel with fresh organic food.  Vegetables, fruits, olive oil, wine, milk, cheese, daily laid eggs, lamb, veal and pork meat, homemade jams and preserves are all produced on San Michele Hotel’s premises.

Grand Hotel San Michele

The acreage upon which the hotel is situated is also a bird sanctuary, where bird lovers from around Italy come to observe migratory patterns.

The maximum number of people that can be hosted in the hotel is about 80; however, there are other hotels in the area and the hotel can arrange pickups.


General Information about ECI

Engineering Conferences International (ECI) is a not-for-profit, global engineering conferences program, originally established in 1962 that provides opportunities for the exploration of problems and issues of concern to engineers and scientists from many disciplines.

The format of the conference provides morning and late afternoon or evening sessions in which major presentations are made. Poster sessions will be scheduled for evening discussion as well. Available time is included during the afternoons for ad hoc meetings, informal discussions, and/or recreation. This format is designed to enhance rapport among participants and promote dialogue on the development of the meeting. We believe the conferences have been instrumental in generating ideas and disseminating information to a greater extent than is possible through more conventional forums.

All participants are expected both to attend the entire conference and to contribute actively to the discussions. The recording/photographing of lectures and presentations is forbidden. As ECI conferences take place in an informal atmosphere, casual clothing is the usual attire.

Smoking is prohibited at ECI conferences and conference functions.