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Concrete History of Cement Raw Materials Manufacturing process Quality Control

What is Concrete?
Cement Concrete Cement Paste Phase
(OPC, PPC....)

Aggregate Phase Coarse Fine


Mineral + Chemical River Msand Synthetic Natural Recycled Pozzolanic + Inert Fillers FA, slag, silica fume, Metakaolin Light wt. Normal wt. Heavy wt.

Why Concrete?
5.5 billion tonnes of concrete per year (~ 1 tonne per human being) Excellent water resistance Ease of moulding in to any shape and size Availability of raw materials Economy (~ Rs 5-6) Less energy consumption (relatively with steel) Sustainable Durable

World's largest unreinforced concrete dome
Rome - 126 AD

Elliptical amphitheatre Rome - 80 AD

History of Cement
Lime mortar - Hydraulic Cement - Portland Cement John Smeaton (Civil Engineer) -1756 - Eddystone Lighthouse - discovered that the best limes for mortar contained a high degree of clayey matter Ultimately, this kind of lime was used in equal quantities with pozzolana for the construction of Light house

Portland Cement
L. J. Vicat: Prepared artificial hydraulic lime by calcining an intimate mixture of limestone (chalk) and clay principal forerunner to Portland Cement 1824 Joseph Aspdin, while obtaining a patent for his hydraulic cement, termed it as Portland cement, due to the resemblance of hardened cement in appearance and quality of Portland stone (limestone from Dorset, UK)

Portland Cement (PC) over the ages

Proto PC Calcined mixture of limestone and clay; no CaO-SiO2 interaction; low burning temperatures Meso PC C2S clearly evident; some C3S present; poorly defined flux phases (C3A and C4AF); Aspdins patented cement falls in this category Normal PC Controlled production; suitable proportioned mixture of calcareous and argillaceous components, as in the modern day cements.

Raw Materials for Cement

Calcareous material Containing CaCO3 (primary source limestone); impurities such as iron and alumina are sometimes present Argillaceous material Containing clayey matter, source of Silica (SiO2), Alumina (Al2O3 ) Gypsum Added in the final stages of manufacture as a set regulator

Cement Production-Schematic

800C 1400C

Fluidised calciner - 800C


Process of Manufacturing Cement

Wet Process and Dry process Wet process Mechanical stirrers for avoiding sedimentation , more uniform mixing, energy intensive Dry process higher output, lower power consumption Preheaters for drying and partially calcination of the rawmeal Fluidised calciners used to increase the decarbonation (dissociation of CaCO3) Dry process with precalciners are the order of the day

When moisture content of raw materials is > 15%, wet blending (in slurry form) is preferred When moisture content < 8%, dry blending is done For 8% < moisture content < 15%, dry blending with precalciners used
Process Kiln length (m) Output (tons/day) Fuel consumption (kcal/kg clinker) Wet 40 232 100 3350 1000 2200 Dry Preheater Precalciner 40 95 200 3500 800 950 54 110 1500 8500 800 95

Wet Vs. Dry ?

Cement kiln
Only rotary kilns used nowadays Typical kilns are long ~ 30 40 m Length and diameter of kiln also depends on blending process, output required and energy Temperature inside kiln varies from 850 (at inlet) to 1450C (at the outlet) Reactions are not completed inside kiln; some require cooling to occur The material comes out of kiln is called clinker

Cement Clinker
3 to 25 mm


Reactions in the kiln

Conversion of mixtures of calcium carbonate, silica and alumina - bearing components to mixture of special crystalline components capable of reacting with water to produce controlled setting and strength gain The major components in clinker are impure but well crystallized fine (ca. < 50 Qm) crystals of tricalcium silicate (C3S) and dicalcium silicate (C2S) Minor in quantity but important crystalline components are extremely fine crystals of tricalcium aluminate (C3A) and calcium aluminate ferrite solid solution (C4AF)

Of greater importance despite minor amount present are deposits of soluble crystalline components (alkali sulfates and calcium alkali sulfates) on the surfaces of clinkers

Kiln reactions - schematic

Mindess and Young, 1981

Kiln reactions - schematic

Up to 700 oC: activation of silicates through removal of water and changes in crystal structure 700 900 oC: decarbonation of CaCO3, initial combination of A, F, and activated silica with lime 900 1200 oC: Belite (C2S) formation > 1250 oC (more particularly, > 1300 oC): liquid phase appears and promotes the reaction between belite and free lime to form alite (C3S) Cooling stage*: molten phase (containing C3A and C4AF) gets transformed to a glass; if cooling is slow, C3A crystallizes out (causes setting problems), or alite converts to belite and free lime

Hewlett, 2001

Amorphous vs. crystalline

Describes the structure of certain elements and compounds in the solid state. A crystalline solid is one in which there is a there is longrange order or in other words, regular repeating pattern in the structure. (Eg) diamond, table salt. An amorphous solid is one which does not have long-range order. In other words, there is no repeat unit. (Eg) Glass, wax and plastics. If a liquid cools very quickly, the molecules will not have time to arrange themselves in the most favorable pattern and so they are locked into a disordered solid. Properties of an element existing in amorphous form will differ considerably from the same element existing in 18 crystalline form (with same chemical composition)

Appearance of clinker
Typical PC clinker is composed of - large irregular crystals that are grains of alite (C3S), - more rounded smaller crystals that are belite (C2S), and - groundmass consisting of the flux phases (mixture of ferrite and C3A solid solutions)

Clinkers viewed under reflected light in optical microscope
These figures show the important phases of alite (C3S, generally angular), belite (C2S, generally rounded), interstitial material (C3A and C4AF, light colour regions) and epoxy resin in clinker pores.

Clinker showing in left fig. has Typical C3S (alite) structure with Relatively high proportion of aluminate phases (white areas)

In right fig. a zone of high C2S (belite) content is visible


In the Left fig. high C2S content surrounded by C3S crystals

In the Right fig. fine grained, nested C2S zone with much porosity in clinker

Intergrinding with gypsum

Final step in cement manufacture Gypsum added as a set regulator (absence set) Strict control on temperature required Done in ball mills Cement of required fineness produced flash

Other issues
Cement manufacture today is a highly controlled process Closed circuit grinding is preferred However, there is lot of variation in quality of cements (between brands, in the same brand, sometimes in batches produced on the same day!) Quality control during cement manufacture at every stage in the process done

Quality control
Sampling and evaluation should be performed after excavation from the quarry before and after blending the feedstock after formation of clinker after intergrinding clinker with gypsum finally before packaging in the bags and drums

Quality control parameters

Lime saturation factor (LSF) = C/(2.8S + 1.2A + 0.65F) where C, S, A, and F are the % amounts of CaO, SiO2, Al2O3 and Fe2O3, respectively Silica ratio (or modulus) = S/(A + F) Alumina ratio (or modulus) = A/F Potential C3S from Bogue formulation The LSF is particularly important because it dictates the amount of free lime that will be present in the product. Too much free lime can cause unsoundness of the cement.

Some informations
UK 50 kg US 42.6 kg* Environmental impact 1 tonne of cement = 1 tonne of CO2 ( ) Depletion of natural resources

The instructor is indebted to Dr. Manu Santhanam from Indian Institute of Technology Madras for providing some of the images and illustrations