Composition and Manufacturing of Cement in Civil Engineering

Composition and Manufacturing of Cement

Cement, a necessary binding agent in production, plays a pivotal function in uniting numerous materials inclusive of bricks, stones, and urban blocks. This exercise, spanning at least millennia, makes use of cement in particular proportions—whether as mortar (cement, sand, water) or as concrete (cement, sand, overwhelmed material, water). In ancient Roman technology, herbal and pozzolan cement took centre level. Derived from blends of limestone and clay or combos of slaked lime and volcanic ash containing silica, these early cement laid the inspiration for cutting-edge practices. In exploring the Composition and Manufacturing of Cement, we delve into the tricky tactics that shape this essential constructing material, tracing its evolution from ancient formulations to modern production techniques.

Portland Cement
Cement, with its remarkable quick-setting property, strength, and adaptability in diverse conditions, has ushered in a revolution in construction practices, gaining widespread adoption. The roots of the cement we recognize today can be traced back to 1824 when Joseph Aspdin pioneered a powder’s creation by calcining a blend of limestone and clay. This groundbreaking material, known as Portland cement, earned its name from the stone-like appearance it acquired upon hardening—a nod to quarried stone near Portland, England. In modern production, Portland cement is meticulously crafted by manufacturers, precisely balancing lime, silica, alumina, and iron, supplemented with minor amounts of magnesia and sulfur trioxide. The table below illustrates the typical oxide composition range employed in standard Portland cement.

Delving into the Composition and Manufacturing of Cement affords a complete know-how of the elaborate approaches shaping this essential building cloth, from its historical inception to contemporary production methods for the Composition and Manufacturing of Cement.

Composition of Cement 
Composition of  Cement  (ASTM Type 1) or Normal Portland Cement
Calcium Oxide (CaO), Lime                           60 to 66 %
Silica (SiO2)                                                     19% to 25 %
Aluminium Oxide (Al2O3), Alumina          03 to 08 %
Ferrous Oxide (Fe2O3), Iron                       01 to 0 5 %
Magnesium Oxide (MgO), Magnesia         0.0 to 0 5 %
Sulfur Trioxide (SO3)                                    01 to 0 3 %
Alkalie                                                            01 %

Functions of Ingredients
1. Lime: Lime holds significant importance as a key component in cement, requiring meticulous attention to its proportion. An excess of lime renders the cement unsound, leading to expansion and disintegration. Conversely, insufficient lime diminishes the cement’s strength, prompting a rapid setting process. It is crucial to carefully balance lime levels for optimal cement performance.
2. Silica: This ingredient is equally vital in cement, providing it with the crucial characteristic of rapid setting.
3. Alumina: This component bestows the ability to swiftly set upon cement. An excess of alumina, but, weakens the general energy of the cement.
4. Calcium Sulphate: Present inside the form of gypsum, this factor serves the motive of extending the initial setting time of cement.
5. Magnesia: A minute amount of this component contributes to each hardness and shade of cement. Portland cement, labelled as hydraulic cement, undergoes a response with water (hydration) to generate a resilient substance that withstands water’s consequences and always strengthens within the presence of moisture. This cement retains its electricity even if completely submerged in water. In comparison to hydraulic limes, Portland cement is famous for its considerably rapid and giant growth in power.
6. Sulphur: A minimal quantity of sulfur proves beneficial in producing sound cement. However, an excess of sulfur results in the cement becoming unsound.

7. The Alkalie: The majority of alkalies discovered in raw materials are usually over-excited with the aid of flue gases for the duration of the heating technique, leaving a small amount at the back. Excessive alkalies in cement can lead to efflorescence. Throughout the burning and fusion process, the mentioned compounds undergo various chemical combinations. The primary constituents of cement include.

1. Tricalcium silicate is denoted by the chemical formula 3CaO·SiO2, abbreviated as C3S.
2. Dicalcium silicate,                       2CaO. SiO2 (C2S)
3. The chemical components for tricalcium aluminate is 3CaO·Al2O3, regularly abbreviated as C3A.4. Tetracalcium aluminoferrite,    4CaO. Al2O3. Fe2O3 (C4AF)
Tri-Calcium Silicate stands out as the optimal cementing material, and the higher its presence in cement, the better the quality of the cement. In a well-burnt clinker, Tri-Calcium Silicate should ideally constitute around 40%. In cases where the burning process is not executed correctly, the clinker may contain less Tri-Calcium Silicate and more free lime. Upon the addition of water to cement, the setting and hardening occur through the hydration and hydrolysis of the mentioned compounds, which function as a binding agent. The aluminate is the first to set and harden, followed by the slower setting of Tri-Silicate, with Di-Silicate exhibiting the slowest setting and hardening process.

Additionally, the early strength gain is attributed to Tri-Silicate, while Di-Silicate takes 14 to 28 days to contribute to the overall strength. When these compounds interact with water, they release heat, with aluminate being the most heat-generating compound, responsible for several undesirable properties in concrete. Cement with lower aluminate content tends to exhibit lower initial strength but higher ultimate strength. Moreover, it results in reduced heat generation, improved volumetric stability, fewer cracks, and enhanced resistance to acid attacks.

Incomplete burning of clinker can leave free lime, leading to expansion and disruption of concrete after use. The silicates, upon contact with water, form a gel that fills the cement pores, rendering it impervious. As the gel crystallizes, it securely binds the particles together.

What Raw Materials for cement
Material having a high content of lime.
A material characterized by elevated concentrations of silica and alumina is commonly referred to as aluminosilicate.
Material having a high content of Silica

Manufacturing Process Flow Diagram for Cement

Raw Materials

Grinding / Crushing

Mixing in specific proportions

Burning of materials in a large rotary kiln, reaching temperatures of up to 1600 °C.

Formation of Clinkers (small balls)

Cooling & Grinding

Addition of Gypsum powder


Manufacturing of Cement Process 

Wet Process
a) Mixing: The crushed raw materials, carefully proportioned, are introduced into ball mills. A small amount of water is incorporated into the mixture. The ball mill, a rotating steel cylinder containing hardened steel balls, facilitates the pulverization of the raw materials as it rotates.

These materials, forming a solution with water, amalgamate into a liquid mixture termed slurry. Subsequently, this slurry is directed into storage tanks, referred to as silos, where its composition is meticulously adjusted to achieve the precise chemical makeup.

The wet process proves superior in controlling the composition of the raw mix compared to the dry process. The appropriately adjusted slurry is then introduced into the rotary kiln for the burning phase.

b) Burning: Upon entering the furnace, the slurry undergoes moisture loss and transforms into small lumps or “nodules.” These nodules progressively descend, traversing through zones of increasing temperature until they reach the burning zone, where they undergo final combustion at temperatures ranging from 1500 to 1650°C.
At this elevated temperature, the “nodules” transform clinkers. These clinkers are then air-cooled in another inclined tube, resembling the kiln but with a shorter length.

c) Grinding:

In large tube mills, operators grind the clinker, keeping it cool by spraying water from the outside. During the grinding process, they add three to four per cent gypsum (Calcium Sulphate) to control the setting time of the cement. They store the finely ground cement in silos and draw it from there for packing.

Read More 

8 Properties of cement

12 Different types of test on cement

Determine the consistency test on cement using the Vicat apparatus

Determine the Specific gravity of cement test

Sunken Slab Purpose and advantages 





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