History & Manufacture of Portland Cement

In 1824, Joseph Aspdin, a British stone mason, obtained a patent for a cement he produced in his kitchen. The inventor heated a mixture of finely ground limestone and clay in his kitchen stove and ground the mixture into a powder create a hydraulic cement-one that hardens with the addition of water. Aspdin named the product portland cement because it resembled a stone quarried on the Isle of Portland off the British Coast. With this invention, Aspdin laid the foundation for today’s portland cement industry.

Manufacturing Process
Portland cement, the fundamental ingredient in concrete, is a calcium silicate cement made with a combination of calcium, silicon, aluminum, and iron. Producing a cement that meets specific chemical and physical specifications requires careful control of the manufacturing process. The first step in the portland cement manufacturing process is obtaining raw materials. Generally, raw materials consisting of combinations of limestone, shells or chalk, and shale, clay, sand, or iron ore are mined from a quarry near the plant. At the quarry, the raw materials are reduced by primary and secondary crushers. Stone is first reduced to 5-inch size (125-mm), then to 3/4-inch(19 mm). Once the raw materials arrive at the cement plant, the materials are proportioned to create a cement with a specific chemical composition. Two different methods, dry and wet, are used to manufacture portland cement. In the dry process, dry raw materials are proportioned, ground to a powder, blended together and fed to the kiln in a dry state. In the wet process, a slurry is formed by adding water to the properly proportioned raw materials. The grinding and blending operations are then completed with the materials in slurry form. After blending, the mixture of raw materials is fed into the upper end of a tilted rotating, cylindrical kiln. The mixture passes through the kiln at a rate controlled by the slope and rotational speed of the kiln. Burning fuel consisting of powdered coal or natural gas is forced into the lower end of the kiln. Inside the kiln, raw materials reach temperatures of 2600ÞF to 3000ÞF (1430ÞC to 1650ÞC). At 2700ÞF (1480ÞC), a series of chemical reactions cause the materials to fuse and create cement clinker-grayish-black pellets, often the size of marbles. Clinker is discharged red-hot from the lower end of the kiln and transferred to various types of coolers to lower the clinker to handling temperatures. Cooled clinker is combined with gypsum and ground into a fine gray powder. The clinker is ground so fine that nearly all of it passes through a No. 200 mesh (75 micron) sieve. This fine gray powder is portland cement.

Types of Portland Cement
Different types of portland cement are manufactured to meet various physical and chemical requirements. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Specification C-150 provides for eight types of portland cement.Type I portland cement is a normal, general-purpose cement suitable for all uses. It is used in general construction projects such as buildings, bridges, floors, pavements, and other precast concrete products. Type IA portland cement is similar to Type I with the addition of air-entraining properties. Type II portland cement generates less heat at a slower rate and has a moderate resistance to sulfate attack. Type IIA portland cement is identical to Type II and produces air-entrained concrete. Type III portland cement is a high-early-strength cement and causes concrete to set and gain strength rapidly. Type III is chemically and physically similar to Type I, except that its particles have been ground finer. Type IIIA is an air-entraining, high-early-strength cement. Type IV portland cement has a low heat of hydration and develops strength at a slower rate than other cement types, making it ideal for use in dams and other massive concrete structures where there is little chance for heat to escape. Type V portland cement is used only in concrete structures that will be exposed to severe sulfate action, principally where concrete is exposed to soil and groundwater with a high sulfate content.

Portland cements can also be made to ASTM C1157 and include the following: Type GU hydraulic cement for general construction, Type HE-high-early-strength cement, Type MS-moderate sulfate resistant cement, Type HS-high sulfate resistant cement, Type MH-moderate heat of hydration cement, and Type LH-low heat of hydration cement. These cements can also be designated for low reactivity (option R) with alkali-reactive aggregates.

White Portland Cement
In addition to the eight types of portland cement, a number of special purpose hydraulic cements are manufactured. Among these is white portland cement. White portland cement is identical to gray portland cement except in color. During the manufacturing process, manufacturers select raw materials that contain only negligible amounts of iron and magnesium oxides, the substances that give gray cement its color. White cement is used whenever architectural considerations specify white or colored concrete or mortar.

Blended Hydraulic Cements
Blended hydraulic cements are produced by intimately blending two or more types of cementitious material. Primary blending materials are portland cement, ground granulated blast-furnace slag, fly ash, natural pozzolans, and silica fume. These cements are commonly used in the same manner as portland cements. Blended hydraulic cements conform to the requirements of ASTM C595 or C1157. ASTM C595 cements are as follows: Type IS-portland blast-furnace slag cement, Type IP and Type P-portland-pozzolan cement, Type S-slag cement, Type I (PM)-pozzolan modified portland cement, and Type I (SM)-slag modified portland cement. The blast-furnace slag content of Type IS is between 25 percent and 70 percent by mass. The pozzolan content of Types IP and P is between 15 percent and 40 percent by mass of the blended cement. Type I (PM) contains less than 15 percent pozzolan. Type S contains at least 70 percent slag by mass. Type I (SM) contains less than 25 percent slag by mass. The supplementary materials in these cements are explained further on page 28. These blended cements may also be designated as air-entraining, moderate sulfate resistant, or with moderate or low heat of hydration. ASTM C1157 blended hydraulic cements include the following: Type GU-blended hydraulic cement for general construction, Type HE-high-early-strength cement, Type MS-moderate sulfate resistant cement, Type HS-high sulfate resistant cement, Type MH-moderate heat of hydration cement, and Type LH-low heat of hydration cement. These cements can also be designated for low reactivity (option R) with alkali-reactive aggregates. There are no restrictions as to the composition of the C1157 cements. The manufacturer can optimize ingredients, such as pozzolans and slags, to optimize for particular concrete properties. The most common blended cements available are Types IP and IS. The United States uses a relatively small amount of blended cement compared to countries in Europe or Asia. However, this may change with consumer demands for products with specific properties, along with environmental and energy concerns.

Expansive Cements
Expansive cements are hydraulic cements that expand slightly during the early hardening period after setting. They meet the requirements of ASTM C845 in which it is designated as Type E-1. Although three varieties of expansive cement are designated in the standard as K, M, and S, only K is available in the United States. Type E-1 (K) contains portland cement, anhydrous tetracalcium trialuminosulfate, calcium sulfate, and uncombined calcium oxide (lime). Expansive cement is used to make shrinkage-compensating concrete that is used (1) to compensate for volume decrease due to drying shrinkage, (2) to induce tensile stress in reinforcement, and (3) to stabilize long-term dimensions of post-tensioned concrete structures. One of the major advantages of using expansive cement is in the control and reduction of drying-shrinkage cracks. In recent years, shrinkage-compensating concrete has been of particular interest in bridge deck construction, where crack development must be minimized.

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