You are on page 1of 25

Literature on Quality aspects of Cement

What is cement and how it is made?

Cement is a substance which is applied to the surface of solid bodies to make them cohere
firmly or more specifically a powdered substance which is made plastic with water is used in a
soft and pasty stage which hardness or drying and bind together with bricks, stones etc in
building. Portland cement is a calcined material comprising lime and silicates which is Mixed
with sand and stone and upon hydration forms a plastic material which Sets and hardens to a
rock like material called concrete.
Portland cement is manufactured in a series of process. Limestone (Calcium Carbonate) and
other material containing appropriate proportions of Calcium, silicon, aluminium and iron
oxides are crushed and milled to a fine Flour like stuff called “ Raw Meal “ This is preheated in
a pre heater or in A rotary kiln to dis-associate calcium carbonate to active calcium oxide with
The evolution of carbon dioxide and then to react calcium oxides with Other component in a
Rotary Kiln to form calcium silicates and aluminates Which partially fuse at material burning
temp up to 1400oC. The Reaction Product leave the kiln as a dark grayish nodules called “
Clinker “ The Clinker is finally inter ground with a small proportion of Gypsum to control The
rate of hydration and the fine product is cement.

Why Gypsum is added with Clinker in the production of cement?

Gypsum is added to the cement production process mainly for the purpose Of regulating its setting
time. It prevents flash setting and makes the Concrete workable for hours. In addition it also
influences other cement properties like grind ability, sensitivity to storage, volume stability and
development of strength.

What is setting time?

It is the time required to change the stage of cement paste from fluid to a rigid One.

What is the false set of cement paste?

False set is used to describe the premature stiffening of the cement paste which some time
occurs within 10-15 minutes of mixing with water which is caused by dehydration of Gypsum
dehydrated due to high temp. during cement grinding process. However the plasticity of the
paste is regained on remixing.

What is flash set of cement paste?

This refers to rigidity of the cement paste which some time occur Within 5-10 Minutes of
mixing with water and is referred To as Irreversible rigidity. This is caused by the formation of
aluminate hydrate due to high content of C3A and or a too small amount of easily soluble
calcium sulphate. Cement Produced with this behavior is unsuitable to use.

What is consistency of cement paste?

Consistency of cement paste is the amount of water required for preparing a workable cement

What is heat of Hydration in cement paste?

When cement is mixed with water, the chemical reaction between the calcium Silicates in
cement with water producing gel like calcium silicates hydrate and Calcium hydroxide is called

“ Hydration of cement paste “ This hydration Reaction is an exothermic reaction which means
heat is liberated. This is called heat of hydration in cement paste. The quantity of heat
liberated in quite Appreciable and due consideration to be taken while making mass concrete
construction. During cooling of the concrete after hydration reaction, cracks can develop due
to thermal gradients if enough design consideration are not taken care.

What is Soundness in cement?

Soundness provides an index of potential delayed expansion caused by hydration of Calcium

oxide, or Magnesium oxide, or both when present in Portland cement. This, in turn, provides
information on the volume stability of concrete when Portland cement is used.

What is Shrinkage in cement?

The term ‘drying shrinkage’ can be defined as the decrease in length of the cement test
specimen, where the decrease is caused by any factor other than externally applied forces
under stated environmental conditions. The terms includes the net effect of a variety of
phenomena, including hydration of the cement, tending to bring about both increase and
decrease in length during the period in which the cement test specimens are stored under
stated environmental conditions.

What is Air content of cement?

This indicates the volume of air (and other gases, if any) in a freshly mixed cement mortar,
expressed as a percentage of total volume of the mortar. The test for air content is essential to
assess the cement for its requirement with respect to air-entraining requirement.

What is Compressive strength?

Compressive strength is the usual primary requirement of good concrete in it’s hardened state
and this is an overall measure for the quality of cement and concrete. In order to ascertain the
compressive strength of cement and concrete, a predetermined ratio of cement, aggregate
and water are thoroughly mixed and specimens are cast. These specimens are cured and
stored in specified environmental conditions prior to testing it’s compressive strength at
various ages like 3 days, 7 days, 28 days etc. Many of the desirable properties of concrete like
durability, impermeability, abrasion resistance etc., are highly influenced by compressive
strength. Water cement ratio, workability and maximum size of aggregate also affects the
compressive strength of the concrete.

What is Tensile strength?

The term is used to define the maximum tensile stress measured in force per unit cross
sectional area that a cement mortar specimen can resist before it ruptures. Concrete, a
mixture of loosely bonded sand and gravel has a low tensile strength because of its coarse
structure and hence must be reinforced to withstand the tensile stresses encountered in

What is Flexural Strength?
Generally compressive strength is used as an overall measure for the quality of cement and
concrete. However, in specific applications like roads and runways flexural strength is more
important. The flexural strength of cement mortar / concrete is determined by subjecting a
plain prison / beam to flexure under transverse loads. Flexural strength is more sensitive to
inadequate curing and type of aggregate since the effects of non-uniform shrinkage adversely
affects flexural strength.

What is Impermeability?
Impermeability plays a primary role on the durability of concrete, which in turn depends on
the water cement ratio. In the air entrained concrete, minute air bubbles are trapped inside,
which improves the workability of the mix and also function as minute safety values by
providing room for the free water in hardened concrete to escape.

Why there are so many types of special cements?

Special cements are usually developed and produced to meet performance and durability
requirement in particular.

- Improved strength development.

- Increased resistance to chemical attack.
- Improved compatibility with reactive – aggregates.
- Suitability for use at elevated temperature and pressures.
- Suitability for use in special application
- Applicability in architectural purposes.

What is sulphate resisting cement?

Sulphate can be found in natural and industrial wastes as well as in soils. Soluble sulphates
can react with lime and aluminates present in the hardened Concrete and form respectively
gypsum and ettringite. Both reactions involve expansion and consequent concrete
deterioration. Sulphate Resisting Cement are characterized by a low C3A content to minimize
the risk of ettringite formation.

What is low heat cements?

Hydration reaction of cement develops heat. When cement is used in the Production of mass
concrete, temperature gradients generate between core and surface of the mass cause strains
and may eventually lead to cracking. Low heat cements have a reduced heat of hydration
obtained by altering the chemical composition to have low C3S and low C3A contents. This
type of cement is recommended for use for mass concrete production or for large structural

What is leaching resistant cements?

Water with low salinity or a high content of carbon dioxide are capable to dissolve hydration
lime presence in concrete and can damage the structure. Leaching resistant cement is

produced with low C3S content which has a low development of calcium hydroxide or lime.
Their use is suggested in hydraulic works like basins, river barriers and sides etc.

What is low alkali cement?

Some aggregates may contain forms of reactive amorphous silica. In the presence of water,
this can react with the soluble alkali content of cement and form locally an expansive gel that
can deteriorate the concrete. In such case cements are produced to have lower content of K2O
and Na2O or to add some special pozzolana or slag material which can immediately react with
alkali and prevent subsequent reaction with aggregates in the concrete.

What is seawater-resisting cement?

Deterioration of the concrete which is in contact with sea water takes place due to chemical
attack by MgSO4, mechanical stresses by tidal waves, Crystallization pressure due to
deposition of salts in the wind and water line. To absorb all these factors, sea water resisting
cements are produced with moderate C3A content or as blended cements.

What is blended cement?

In blended cement production, some portion of the clinker component is replaced with a
suitable pozzolana or a slag or limestone or fly ash etc. The use of these mineral will improve
the durability and the pore structure of the hardened concrete by lowering its lime content and
porosity as a consequence of the enhanced development of calcium silicate hydrates.

What is high early strength and rapid hardening cement?

The requirement of these types of cement arise when a rapid strength development is required like
if form work has to be removed or reused after a short time or when sufficient strength is required
for further construction in slip forming. In all such cases the cement used should develop the
required strength as soon as possible. These types of cement are made by grinding of clinker with
more fines or by altering the quality of clinker with high C3S and C3A content. Since rapid strength
gain is usually associated to high rate of heat development, this kind of cement should not be used
in mass concrete or in large structural sections.

What is oil well cement?

Oil well cement is developed for use in oil and gas wells and is designed to set at high
temperatures and pressures in well grouting. They can also be used for sealing water wells,
waste disposal pits and geothermal wells. In order to meet the above requirements oil well
cements are made with special composition or additives use enabling to have low permeability,
good bond between rock and casing, to withstand and set under high temperature and
pressure and to protect the casing against corrosion and collapse.

What is white cement?

As the name suggests the color of these cement is white and the mechanical properties are
comparable to those of gray cement. It is produced with suitable selection of raw materials in
which coloring elements like Iron, Chromium and manganese must be kept at the lowest
possible level. In order to ease the clinker burning, addition of fluoride is used as a mineraliser.
This kind of cement is used mainly for architectural purposes in white or colored concrete

What is Masonry cement?
The masonry cements are those, which have low early and late strength, low shrinkage,
limited water permeability, high water retention, excellent plasticity and cohesiveness in the
fresh stage and better workability. This cement is produced by a low to medium clinker
content and the use of limestone or other mineral additions and use of air entraining agents.

What is free lime in cement?

During clinker formation, all the uncombined lime released from the limestone gets combined
with silica, iron and alumina to make silicates, ferrite and aluminate phases. The lime left
uncombined is known as free lime and it is responsible for unsoundness in cement if present in

Quality of cement

The quality of cement is judged by its performance in combination with water as a binder in a
material and it includes properties like setting behavior, strength development, heat
development, volume stability and durability. It is very essential to ensure that the
contribution to these properties of the cement is kept at a certain level and with variations as
small as possible to meet the demand expressed in the standard specifications and to comply
with the wishes and needs of the market.

These factors are associated with the characteristics of the materials being used for the
cement viz. Clinker, Gypsum and Additives and how they are altered during grinding and

Raw material components required for the manufacturing of cement

The main raw material components required for the Cement manufacturing are the “
Calcareous ” and “ Argillaeous ” materials. The Calcareous material mainly provide CaO
( Calcium Oxide ) plus some part of other oxides. Wheras Argillaeous material mainly provide
SiO2 ( Silicon Di Oxide), Al2O3 ( Aluminium Oxide) and Fe2O3 ( Ferric Oxide).

In case of deficiency in any components then corrective materials rich in SiO2 like Sand, rich
in Al2O3 like Bauxite and rich in Fe2O3 like Iron Ore or Laterite are added in Raw mix to meet
the specification of Clinker and Cement as per International norms.

In order to regulate the setting time of the Cement, Gypsum – CaSO4.2H2O is added along
with Clinker in the final cement grinding.

Typical Analysis of various types of Calcareous material available:

Designation Lime Stone High Grade Chalk Sandy Marble Calcareous Phosphatic Dolomitic
Lime Stone Lime Stone Marl Lime Stone

Loss % 42.9 42.9 42.26 35.23 43.14 30.6 42.0 37.5

SiO2 % 5.19 0.70 2.38 15.74 1.10 13.8 2.0 16.7

Al2O3 % 0.81 0.68 1.57 0.88 0.51 7.0 0.37 2.1

Fe2O3 % 0.54 0.08 0.56 0.51 0.25 4.55 0.56 0.27

CaO % 48.61 54.54 52.48 44.89 54.33 38.35 52.1 33.60

MgO % 1.90 0.59 0.59 2.54 0.48 1.32 0.76 9.3

SO3 % 0.05 0.25 0.01 0.61 0.04 0.43 0.23 0.08

K2O % 0.33 0.01 0.02 0.21 0.01 0.86 0.08 0.29

Na2O % 0.05 0.16 0.02 0.08 0.01 2.61 0.36 0.40

TiO2 % 0.06 0.01 0.01 0.05 0.02 0.21 0.01 0.07

Cr2O3 % 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.02 0.01 0.01

Mn2O3 % 0.05 0.01 0.01 0.03 0.08 0.29 0.06 0.06

P2O5 % 0.04 0.01 0.01 0.10 0.03 0.25 0.98 0.20

Cl % 0.02 0.01 0.03 0.11 0.01 0.04 0.04 0.12

F% 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01

Total % 100.11 99.97 99.97 101.0 100.16 100.34 99.57 100.71

Note: Of the above So3, K2O, Na2O, MgO and Cl components are undesirable for the Cement process and should be as
minimum as possible. As a consequence, Dolomitic Limestone is not desirable.

Typical Analysis of various types of Argillaceous material:

Designation Shale I Shale II Siliceous Clay Clay Sandy Slate

Marl stone Shale

Loss % 3.71 5.3 32.24 13.3 12.5 3.9 5.58

SiO2 % 61.1 64.1 22.7 48.6 45.9 70.8 56.29

Al2O3 % 16.4 13.6 3.9 19.6 23.9 10.9 19.22

Fe2O3 % 7.1 6.1 2.4 9.1 15.5 5.2 4.39

CaO % 1.1 1.8 32.9 2.5 0.72 1.3 0.09

MgO % 2.4 2.9 3.32 1.6 0.33 2.2 1.65

SO3 % 0.01 0.03 0.95 1.78 0.03 0.03 0.72

K2O % 4.8 2.7 0.59 0.54 0.01 2.2 10.85

Na2O % 1.6 1.9 0.19 1.0 0.11 2.0 0.19

TiO2 % 0.76 0.67 0.39 1.2 0.86 0.71 0.46

Cr2O3 % 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.1 0.01 0.01 0.01

Mn2O3 % 0.06 0.05 0.04 0.04 0.20 0.05 0.22

P2O5 % 0.13 0.18 0.03 0.18 0.06 0.17 0.15

Cl % 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.22 0.04 0.01 0.06

F% 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01

Total % 99.21 99.36 99.68 99.68 99.88 94.49 100.07

Note: Of the above So3, K2O, Na2O, MgO and Cl components are undesirable for the Cement process
and should be as minimum as possible.

Typical Analysis of Corrective Raw material Components:

Correctives Aluminum – Al2O3 Iron Oxide – Fe2O3 Silicon Di

Oxide – SiO2

Designation BauxiteType BauxiteType BauxiteType Pyrite Hematite Umber Iron Sand Sand
I II III Ash Slag Stone

Loss % 10.5 29.35 15.4 Nd 3.41 13.99 1.6 0.91 3.69

SiO2 % 4.3 3.3 3.1 7.8 11.0 32.1 21.5 94.7 80.2

Al2O3 % 56.0 56.6 57.6 1.0 3.1 4.3 8.8 2.9 8.37

Fe2O3 % 22.1 9.4 15.8 84.3 77.7 37.5 57.6 0.24 3.26

CaO % Nd 1.15 4.1 0.8 1.2 1.42 3.1 0.35 3.29

MgO % Nd 0.08 0.16 0.45 0.32 1.70 3.6 0.13 0.45

SO3 % Nd 0.24 0.29 11.73 2.1 0.04 2.3 0.01 0.08

K2O % Nd 0.15 0.08 0.09 0.48 0.69 Nd 1.3 1.9

Na2O % Nd 0.1 0.08 0.07 0.07 0.30 Nd 0.2 0.11

TiO2 % 3.0 Nd 2.9 0.16 0.19 3.24 Nd 0.12 0.48

Cr2O3 % Nd Nd 0.02 Nd 0.01 0.24 Nd 0.01 0.01

Mn2O3 % Nd Nd 0.03 0.04 1.31 5.75 Nd 0.03 0.01

P2O5 % Nd Nd 0.21 Nd 0.02 0.16 Nd 0.01 0.02

Cl % Nd Nd 0.01 Nd 0.02 0.08 Nd 0.01 0.01

F% Nd Nd 0.01 Nd 0.01 0.02 Nd 0.01 0.01

Total % Nd 100.37 99.79 Nd 100.94 101.53 98.50 100.93 98.89

Note: Of the above So3, K2O, Na2O,MgO and Cl components are undesirable for the Cement process and
should be as minimum as possible.

In the Cement Manufacturing Process, the selected raw material components are blended,
proportioned and finely ground to a powder form called as Raw Meal, which often have a
fineness of 14 – 16 % residue on 90-micron sieve. This material is heated in stages and finally
in a rotary Kiln at about 1400 Deg C. In the Kiln after the completion of chemical reactions a
sintered mass is produced which is called as Clinker. This semi-finished product is again
proportioned with Gypsum and then ground to a powder, which is called as Cement.

The following chemical reactions and phase transformations take place at different
temperature ranges.

Temp – Deg C Process Chemical Transformation

< 100 Drying and elimination of Free water from raw H2O ( Liq) » H2O ( Gas)
material components

100 – 400 Elimination of combined water or physically

absorbed water.

400 – 750 Decomposition of Clay minerals with the Al4(OH)8Si4O10 » 2(Al2O3.2SiO2) +

formation of metakaolinite. Removal of 4 H2O
structural H2O.

600 – 900 Decomposition of metakaolinite to mixture of Al2O3.2SiO2 » Al2O3 + 2 SiO2

free and reactive oxides

600 – 1000 Dissociation of limestone and formation of CaCO3 » CaO +
intermediate products CS and CA CO23CaO+2SiO2+Al2O3 »
2(CaO.SiO2) + CaO.Al2O3

800 –1300 Binding of lime by CS and CA with the CaO.SiO2+CaO » 2CaO.SiO2

formation of C2S, C3A and C4AF.Formation of 2CaO+CaO+Al2O3 »
belite and liquid phases such as aluminate and 3CaO.Al2O33CaO+CaO+Al2O3+Fe2O3
ferrite melt » 4CaO.Al2O3.Fe2O3

1250 – 1450 Further binding of Lime by C2S to form 2CaO.SiO2+CaO » 3CaO.SiO2

C3S.Completion of reaction and
recrystallization of formed phases.

Cooling1300 – Crystallization of liquid phase into mainly

1240 aluminate and ferrite

Common Control factors and their influence on the property of Clinker and Cement

Parameter Empirical Limiting Preferable Range Effects

Formula Range

(SM) - Silica S / (A+F) 1.9 – 3.2 2.3 – 2.7 A higher SM will:

Result in harder burning and High
fuel consumption.

Tends to cause unsoundness or
free CaO

Causes difficulty in coating
formation and hence the radiation
from Kiln shell will be very high.

Reduces the service life of

Results in slow setting and
hardening of the cement.

(AM) Alumina A / F 1.5 – 2.5 A higher AM will :

Imparts harder burning and
entails higher fuel consumption.

Increases the proportion of C3A
and reduces C4AF.

Increases both C3S and C2S

Reduces the liquid phase and Kiln

Tends to render cement quick
setting and strong at early ages.

Increases viscosity of the liquid
phase at constant temperature.

If AM is too low and raw mix is
without free silica, clinker sticking
and balling is high.

(LSF) – Lime 100 C / (2.8S 0.66 – 0.92 – 0.96 A higher LSF will:
Saturation +1.65A +0.35F) 1.02
Factor. when AM is
100C / ( 2.8 S +
Makes it difficult to burn the raw
1.1 A + 0.7 F )
when AM < 0.64
Tends to produce unsound cement
100 (C+0.75 M)
ie.high amount of free CaO
/ 2.8S + 1.18 A
+0.65 F when M
< 2.0 -
Increases the C3S content.
100 ( C + 1.5M)
/ 2.8 S + 1.8 -
A+0.65 F when Reduces the C2S content
M > 2.0
Causes slow setting with high
early strength.

Free Silica in Sf 0–3% As low as possible A higher Sf will:

Increases the power and fuel

Causes difficulty in coating

Deteriorates the refractory lining.

Increases the radiation from the
kiln shell.

Increases the kiln exit gas

Magnesium M 0 – 5% 0–2% A higher M will:
Oxide (MgO)

Reduces viscosity and surface
tension of clinker liquid and
increase ionic mobility.

Favors the dissolution of C2S and
free CaO at higher temperature
and lets C3S forms more quickly.

Tends to ball easily in the burning
zone, which affects the Kiln

Leads to unsoundness by forming
periclase crystals when M > 2.0%

Increases C3S and melt but has
no effect on C2S(M < 2 %)

Volume instability when 2>M>6

Titanium TiO2 0 – 4% 1.5 – 2.0% A higher TiO2 will:
Oxide (TiO2)

Results in sharp reduction in C3S
content with equal gain in C3S
content and appreciable variations
in other phases.

Reduces viscosity and surface
tension of the melt.

Reduces grain sizes of alite and

Causes slower setting and lower
early strength.

Forms darker color clinker.

Manganese Mn2O3 0 – 4% 1.5 – 2.0 % A higher content will:

Reduces the viscosity of the melt.

Reduces the size of the alite

Reduces early strength.

Strontium SrO 0–4% 0.5 – 1.0 % A higher content will:


Accelerates the combination
reaction of CaO in solid phase.

Lowers the apperance temperature
of the liquid.

Decreases hydraulic strength.

Tends to release free CaO by the
destruction of C3S.

Chromium Cr2O3 0–2% 0.3 – 0.5 % A higher content will:

Reduces viscosity and surface
tension of the clinker liquid.

Forms alite rapidly and increases
its crystals.

Decomposes C3S into CaO free
and C2S.

Increases the stability of A and
decreases that of F.

Increases the initial hydraulic

Alkalies K2O + Na2O 0–1% 0.2 – 0.3 % A higher content will:

Improves the burnability at lower
temperature and deteriorates at
higher temperature.

Increases liquid and coating

Lowers the solubility of CaO in the

Breaks down the alite and belite

Creates operational problems like
coating and jamming in

Will lead to expansion when total
alkali level > 0.60% in cement.

Sulfur Su 0–4% 0.5 – 2.0 % A higher content will:

Acts as an effective mineralizer
and modifier of the alkali – recycle
by forming less volatile

Lowers the appearance
temperature of liquid phase by
100 Deg C, decreases its viscosity
and surface tension and increases
ionic mobility of oxides.

Increases belite formation.

Decomposes alite at 1250 DegC if
high alkali sulphate are present.

When SO3 . 2.5 – 4 %, causes
sulphate expansion.

Improves burning of raw mix at
lower temperature and deterioate
the same at higher temperatures.

Decreases hydraulic and
mechanical strength.

Phosphorous P2O5 0–1% 0.3 – 0.5 % A higher content will:

Accelerates the clinkerization

Reduces the intensity of internal

Reduces early strength.

Reduces C3S content.

Fluoride F 0 – 0.6 0 .03 – 0.08 % A higher content will:


Lowers the temperature of C3S

Decreases the mechanical
strength of the clinker.

Chloride Cl 0 – 0.6 0 – 0.015% A higher content will:

Operational and process related
problems expected.

Increases liquid formation and
melting point of the absorbed
phase is drastically changed.

A bypass system is required if
value >0.015%

Typical Analysis of Gypsum:

Designation Gypsum I Gypsum II

Loss % 22.30 12.80

SiO2 % 1.30 9.20

Al2O3 % 0.71 2.60

Fe2O3 % 0.30 0.95

CaO % 30.60 30.30

MgO % 0.05 0.50

SO3 % 45.50 37.20

K2O % 0.08 1.18

Na2O % 0.20 0.97

TiO2 % 0.01 0.88

Cr2O3 % 0.01 0.16

Mn2O3 % Nd 0.64

P2O5 % Nd 1.52

Cl % Nd 0.16

F% Nd 0.35

Total % 101.06 99.61

Based on the availability of different types of Raw Material components, a composite Raw Mix
design to be made ( Raw Meal )which should have the following resultant chemical
composition. With this composition high quality Type I OPC - clinker can be manufactured
which will have the composition as mentioned in the table below.

Parameters Raw Meal Composition Clinker Quality

SiO2 % 13.6 – 14.2 21.0 – 22.0

Al2O3 % 3.2 – 3.6 4.75 – 5.25

Fe2O3 % 2.2 – 2.6 3.60 – 4.0

CaO % 43.0 – 43.80 65.0 – 67.0

MgO % 0.60 – 1.20 1.20 – 1.60

K2O % 0.15 – 0.25 0.60 – 0.80

Na2O % 0.03 – 0.06 0.12 – 0.22

SO3 % 0.03 – 0.06 0.30 – 0.60

Chlorides % 0.008 – 0.02 0.01 – 0.03

Loss On Ignition % 35.0 – 36.0 0.15 – 0.35

Lime Saturation Factor 96 + / - 1 95 +/- 1

Silica Modulus 2.45 +/- 0.10 2.50 +/- 0.10

Alumina Modulus 1.45 +/- 0.05 1.4 +/- 0.05

Tri Calcium Silicates – C3S NA 60 +/- 2

Di Calcium Silicates – C2S NA 18 +/- 2

Tri Calcium Aluminate – C3A NA 7 +/- 1

Tetra Calcium Alumino Ferrite – NA 12 +/-1