Chapter 3.



Kiln Burning Systems

by Con G. Manias*

Once raw materials have been selected and blended, and ground and homogenized into a fine and
uniform kiln feed, they must then be subjected to enough heat to allow the clinkering reactions to
proceed. This is the pyroprocessing stage of cement manufacture, beginning with the kiln feed
material extracted from storage and weighed and transported to the kiln, and finishing with the
clinker from the cooler going to clinker storage. A schematic diagram on different stages of cement
manufacturing is shown in Figure 3.1.1

Raw mill from storage
Feed rate


+ Calciner
Kiln rotation

To clinker storage


Figure 3.1.1. Pyroprocessing system.

*Managing Director, FCT Group of Companies, 20 Stirling Street,Thebarton, South Australia 5031
ph + 61 8 8352 9999,


Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing

The main chemical reactions to produce the calcium silicates that later give cement its bonding
strength occur in the kiln system. There is a combination of endothermic and exothermic reactions
occurring in an extremely complicated chemical reaction sequence. The raw material composition,
mineralogical composition and the time and temperature profile of these materials in the kiln
determine the ultimate composition and mineralogy of the clinker, which in turn determines the
performance of the cement produced.
The pyroprocessing stage is generally regarded as the heart of the cement-making process. It is the
stage in which most of the operating costs of cement manufacture appear, and is also therefore the
stage where most of the opportunities for process improvement exist.
There are many different kiln system designs and enhancements, but they are all in essence
performing the following material transformation, in order from the feed end:
1. Evaporating free water, at temperatures up to


2. Removal of adsorbed water in clay materials

100°C - 300°C

3. Removal of chemically bound water

450°C - 900°C

4. Calcination of carbonate materials

700°C - 850°C

5. Formation of C2S, aluminates and ferrites

800°C - 1250°C

6. Formation of liquid phase melt


7. Formation of C3S

1330°C - 1450°C

8. Cooling of clinker to solidify liquid phase

1300°C - 1240°C

9. Final clinker microstructure frozen in clinker


10. Clinker cooled in cooler

1250°C - 100°C

Figure 3.1.2 shows the transformation reactions taking place at different stages of raw material
On the gas flow side, the sequence from the firing end is as follows:
1. Ambient air preheated by hot clinker from kiln

20°C up to 600°C to 1100°C

2. Fuel burns in preheated combustion air in kiln

2000°C to 2400°C

3. Combustion gases and excess air travel along kiln,
transferring heat to kiln charge and kiln refractories

2400°C down to 1000°C

4. Preheating system for further recovery of heat from
kiln gases into the material charge in the kiln system

1000°C down to 350°C to 100°C

5. Further heat recovery from gases for drying of raw materials or coal
All kiln systems aspire to optimize heat exchange between the gas streams and material streams at
various stages to minimize waste heat and maximize thermal efficiency.

Kiln Burning Systems





Free lime

Raw meal

Portions by weight




H 2O





Clay minerals





C 3A






Temperature, °C

Figure 3.1.2. Clinker reactions in raw meal as a function of temperature.

Early kiln systems for cement clinker manufacture were based on shaft kiln systems. However, as
these are of little relevance to the world at large, this chapter will deal with rotary kilns only.
The first rotary kiln was introduced to the cement industry by Frederik Ransome (1885) when he
took out a patent in England titled “Improvements in Manufacture of Cement.” The first of these
rotary kilns were up to 2.0 m in diameter and 25 m long, with an “enormous” production of 30 to
50 ton/day. Today, some kilns are producing as much in a day (>10,000 tpd) as these kilns
produced in a year.

Wet Process Kilns
The long wet process kiln, with a length to diameter ratio (L/D) of up to 40, was the main clinker
producing plant for most of the 20th century. It is a relatively simple process, with the main advantage of slurry preparation being the eases of milling, handling, blending, storage, pumping, and
metering. It is also less prone to low level dust emission.
In wet process systems, the material preheat system is metal chains hanging in the cold end of the
kiln, which absorb heat from gases and heat the material which flows over them. The chain actually
provides a greater surface area for contact between hot gases and the material clinging to the

1.3 depicts a typical long wet process kiln. Figure 3. However. splitting both the feed and gas flow. and ceramic heat exchangers. there are some rare situations where raw material moistures. A typical long dry kiln is shown in Figure 3. Kiln production rates for long dry kilns are marginally higher than long wet kilns. kiln metallic crosses. cheap (waste) fuels. However.3. These kilns were developed and became popular particularly in North America. long dry kilns are similar to long wet kilns. Figure 3. the kiln gas exit temperatures were reduced to 350°C – 400°C. because of the water to be evaporated from the slurry.1. without any enhanced heat transfer fittings in the preheating zone. with 2000 tpd being an upper economic limit without encountering severe maintenance problems. and only a few wet kilns have been built since that time. low technology workforce. Their advantage over wet kilns is potentially improved fuel consumption because the kiln feed is dry. Apart from the sheer weight and stresses on mechanical drives and supports. and very little advantage was realized over wet process. or other factors may still favor wet process production. . Another disadvantage of a wet process kiln is that it is limited in production rate because of mechanical limitations on kiln size. This became a severe problem only when the cost of fuel escalated during the 1970s. A 1500 tpd wet kiln is a large kiln. shell deflection makes it increasingly difficult to achieve acceptable refractory life.242 Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing The main problem with long wet kilns is their poor fuel efficiency. Long wet process kiln. With these enhancements. and providing improved heat transfer. The crosses and ceramic heat exchangers basically split the kiln into 3 or 4 cross-sectional areas over a distance of about 15 to 20 m. specific fuel consumption improved some 30% and output increased by 35% to 40% compared to wet kilns.1. kiln exit temperatures of 700°C or more meant that water spray cooling was required.4. However. Long Dry Kilns Dimensionally. kiln internals fitted at a later stage of development included kiln chains (similar to wet kilns).

The technology reached the stage of 3000 tpd kilns with specific fuel consumption of 3. the combination of names leading to “Lepol. These kilns have a short rotary kiln section.1. the kiln feed nodules experience two separate passes of the hot gases. and reducing airflow and hence capacity of the kiln system.5 shows a typical Lepol kiln system. 243 . L/D of 12 to 15. The nodules or pellets formed have to be strong and plastic enough to withstand the mechanical handling and thermal shock on the grate without breaking down. and led to ready market acceptance of the technology. For some grate preheater kiln systems. Long dry kiln. The output of a particular kiln can vary by almost double depending on the suitability of raw feed for this process and nodule formation in particular. the first for drying and the second for preheating and partial calcination. preceded by a travelling grate covered by a 150 mm to 200 mm layer of nodulized raw meal. or produced from raw meal slurry after it has passed through a filter press and been extruded and sliced into cylindrical pellets. some 50% over the popular wet kiln process at the time.4. increasing pressure drop. The kiln exit gases at 1000°C or so pass through this nodule layer providing preheat of material before it enters the rotary kiln at about 800°C. The gases exit the grate section at around 100°C. Figure 3. Nodule breakdown causes blinding of the holes on the travelling preheater grate.3 MJ/kg (800 kcal/kg).1.Kiln Burning Systems Figure 3. implying very efficient recovery of heat. The raw material properties are critical to the performance of the Lepol kiln system. The nodules or pellets formed as kiln feed can either be produced from dry raw meal mixed with about 13% moisture in a pan granulator.” This was a major improvement in kiln thermal efficiency. Travelling Grate Preheater Kilns (Lepol) The Lepol kiln was invented in 1928 by Otto Lellep and marketed by Polysius.

with increasing fuel efficiency with more cyclone preheater stages as shown in Figure 3.244 Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing Figure 3. Figure 3. Smidth. The rotary kiln is relatively short. Cyclone preheater kiln.1.5.6. Kiln speeds are typically 2 rpm.6. where gases typically leave the preheater system at around 350°C. Material residence time in the preheater is in the order of 30 seconds and in the kiln about 30 minutes. The most common is the 4-stage suspension preheater. the first preheater kiln was built and commissioned in 1951 by KHD. Lepol kiln.1. Cyclone Preheater Kilns The cyclone preheater was first patented in 1934 in Czechoslovakia by an employee of F. L. Cyclone preheater kilns can have any number of stages between 1 and 6. Preheater pressure drops range from 300 mm to 600 mm water. The material entering the rotary kiln section is already at around 800°C and partly calcined (20% to 30%) with some of the clinkering reactions already started. with L/D typically 15. However. .1. This system utilizes cyclone separators as the means for promoting heat exchange between the hot kiln exit gases at 1000°C and the incoming dry raw meal feed. with gas duct velocities typically 20 m/s in the preheater and cyclones.

Precalciner Kilns In precalciner kilns. or three preheater towers operating with one or two calciner vessels in either an in-line configuration or separate line configuration. thus improving the kiln refractory life. with specific fuel consumption below 3 MJ/kg (700 kcal/kg). There are many different configurations. Cyclone Preheater Kilns with Riser Duct Firing The operation of the cyclone preheater kilns can be improved by firing some fuel in the riser duct to increase the degree of calcination in the preheater. the combustion air for burning fuel in the preheater no longer passes through the kiln. Since the calciner operates at temperatures around the calcination temperature of raw meal (800°C to 900°C). Precalciner kilns can have very large outputs in excess of 10. Preheater kilns can be subjected to flushing of material due to the fluidization of raw meal that occurs during calcination in the kiln. combustion system design. with specific fuel consumption usually around 750 to 800 kcal/kg (3. depending on the limitation to output for a particular plant. The production rate can also be increased marginally. In recent years. The limitation as to how much fuel can be burnt in the riser can be limited by the geometry of the duct. the fuel quantity is limited to about 25% of total fuel because of the limitation to the amount of excess air that can be passed through the burning zone. and the raw meal is over 90% calcined before it reaches the rotary kiln section. Furthermore. but is taken from the cooler region by a special tertiary air duct to a specially designed combustion vessel in the preheater tower. However. Too much excess air will reduce burning zone temperature to below the levels needed for clinkering. Some (mostly recent) designs include a separate precombustion 245 . even under ideal conditions.2 to 3. or fuel type. the excess air in the burning zone is increased. two. and the additional oxygen in the riser duct allows additional fuel to be burnt there. and 2 to 3 seconds for natural gas. This reduction in burning zone temperature can be countered by oxygen enrichment.5 MJ/kg). Typically. there may not be a flame as such. as discussed later in the paper. Typically. though. This can be an ideal place to burn some waste fuel such as waste oils or tires. burning some fuel in the riser duct reduces the fuel requirement and thermal loading in the kiln. Increasing the degree of calcination in the riser (up to 50%) before the material enters the kiln reduces this tendency. average residence times calculated on gas flow for early units were about 1 to 2 seconds for coal and oil. 60% of the total fuel is burnt in the calciner.000 tpd. The larger capacity kilns are built with two preheater tower systems to keep cyclone sizes to economic proportions and required efficiency.Kiln Burning Systems Kiln capacities up to 3500 tpd exist. The calciner efficiency is dependent on uniform air flow and uniform dispersion of fuel and raw meal in the air. there has been a trend toward larger calciner vessels to reduce some of the combustion problems of the earlier designs and provide greater flexibility for using lower grade fuels. In this kiln system. with one.

5 rpm. Separate line calciner system with two preheater towers. Figure while the separate line system has tertiary air only with 21% oxygen forming the combustion air as is shown in Figure 3. A separate line system therefore has a better combustion environment and may be preferred for difficult fuels.8. Other Systems The rotary kiln has been the standard clinkering unit for cement production over the past century. It has a further advantage when converting preheater kilns to precalciners in that there is minimal interference with the operating preheater kiln during the construction phase for the new separate line preheater tower and tertiary air duct.1.1. there have been various attempts to produce clinker in other reactors including a flash calcining/clinkering and fluid bed calcining/clinkering vessels . During that time. Figure 3.7. An in-line calciner has kiln exhaust gases and tertiary air making up the combustion air (reduced oxygen levels) for the calciner as shown in Figure 3. as there is no provision for tertiary air off-take with planetary coolers. and kiln speeds are in the order of 3.7. In-line calciner system with single preheater tower. Kiln residence time is typically 20 to 25 minutes.246 Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing chamber. L/D ratios are typically low at 10 to 14. Precalciner kiln systems can operate only in conjunction with grate coolers.

Summary of Critical Data Information on Different Kiln Systems Kiln systems rpm tpd/m3 L/D Long wet 1 0. Material Residence Time The residence time of material in the kiln is governed by the kiln slope.8 30–35 Long Dry 1 0. it was noted that the clinker produced from this pilot plant was much more reactive than any conventionally produced clinker. and any internal restrictions either by design (dam rings) or through kiln ring formation. operational.5–5.1. can be calculated from Equation 1: xF t = 1.Kiln Burning Systems 247 The motivation has been to reduce capital and operating costs or to allow smaller economic clinkering plants to be built in remote locations. production.2 14–16 Precalciner 3.45–0. t. fuel. where clinker was produced in a fluid bed fed with raw meal.0 10–14 SFC kcal/kg 1300– 1650 1100– 1300 950– 1200 750– 900 720– 850 Kiln system Residence exit kWh/t time.1. thermal.1.4 VITAL KILN OPERATIONAL PARAMETERS The following parameters are typical for any kiln operation and considered critical in optimizing the performance of a kiln.5 1. Although this did not proceed to commercialization. Table 3. and efficiency parameters of each kiln system.5–2. and gave cement strengths 20% higher than those produced from good quality rotary kiln clinker. The mineral structure certainly showed much finer alite and belite crystals in the 10 to 20 µm range.5 1.5–0. min T. Nm3/kg clinker 3.77pxxLDx xθ n (1) . the speed of rotation.8 2. °C 150– 230 380– 400 100– 120 17–25 180–240 20–30 180–240 20–25 30 25 30–40 350 25 20–30 300– 360 ∆P.0 1. This gives some indication of the potential quality improvement possible through better control of rotary kiln temperature. mm H2O 150– 180 150– 200 250– 400 500– 700 500– 700 Exit gas.4 1. Critical data on the kiln systems discussed above are summarized in Table 3. The data reflects mechanical.5–2.1.6 3. The residence time.0 1.2 12–15 Cyclone preheater 2. This was thought to be due to the absence of overburning in the fluid bed clinker because of the more uniform temperature that can be achieved.8 30–35 Lepol 1. The author was involved with one such project during the 1980s.

rpm θ = angle of repose of material. m p = kiln slope. lifters etc. Kiln Slope Rotary kilns slope from the feed end to the discharge end for material to travel in that direction utilizing gravitational force. or when evaluating an existing kiln for potential output. degrees D = kiln diameter. and is decided in conjunction with the kiln rotational speed. m n = kiln speed. These include: • Burning zone heat loading • Secondary air velocity • Burning zone gas velocity • Kiln exit gas velocity • Kiln exit gas temperature • Preheater tower gas velocities • Preheater tower pressure drops • Preheater tower exit gas temperature • Volatile concentrations • Material residence time • Cooler grate loading . though. It should be noted.) Kiln Degree of Fill This is the percentage of the kiln cross-sectional area filled by the kiln charge. A lesser slope with a higher rotational speed may improve heat transfer because of the greater tumbling of kiln charge. It is sometimes seen that a kiln ring could coincide with high or erratic free lime in the clinker. Kiln Capacity When designing a kiln for a certain capacity. min L = kiln length. or 1 to 2°. possibly because the fill degree has exceeded limits for ensuring that all kiln charge material is uniformly heated. and is usually in the range of 5% to 17% for most rotary kilns. (40 degrees) F = constriction factor (usually1 if no dams. that a fill degree of more than 13% could impair heat transfer in that some of the material in the center of the charge will not be exposed to enough heat.248 Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing Where t = residence time. there are a number of key parameters that must be evaluated. The slope is typically 2% to 4%.

and speed of material flow through the kiln. and can even allow C3S to revert to C2S and CaO. the limitation is found to be more a question of a fan capacity. All of these have a negative impact on cement strength. the expansion can cause the concrete to rupture. This will tend to produce clinker with large alite and belite crystals. poor refractory life. Slow cooling can also result in reversion of C2S from the α' phase to the less reactive β form. a burner capacity. or milling of raw materials or coal. As the clinker temperature exiting the kiln is normally 1200°C to 1250°C. but any of the above could be the limitation to a kiln’s output. or in extreme cases even to the unreactive γ form. poor clinker quality. because slow cooling allows large periclase crystals to form such that when these hydrate slowly in concrete. Clinker coolers perform the function of: • Transporting clinker from the kiln to the clinker delivery system • Cooling the clinker to a safe temperature for subsequent transport • Finalizing the clinker mineralogy through rapid cooling • Preheating combustion air by heat exchange with hot clinker Coolers are treated in more detail elsewhere in this publication and will not be elaborated on further here. however. The rate of cooling can be critical to the clinker quality and performance of cement. The rate of cooling in the kiln is determined by the flame and resulting heat flux. resulting in a coarse-grained clinker matrix with poor reactivity and poor grindability. These limitations will typically manifest themselves as kiln instability and ring or coating buildup. These are the satellite (or planetary) type and the oscillating grate type. CLINKER COOLERS Cooling of clinker takes place at two locations: 1) in the kiln after the material passes the burning zone region. flame temperature. A further quality problem can arise if there are high levels of MgO in the clinker. The 1990s saw tremendous advances in clinker cooler technology that greatly improved heat efficiency and potential output from a given kiln system. or high fuel consumption. 249 . Usually.Kiln Burning Systems • Cooler air supply • Kiln dust cycles There are design limits for all of the above that may vary between different processes. excessive dust loss. There are two main types of coolers used in cement clinker production. the clinker characteristics have been already largely established before the clinker enters the cooler. A long flame gives slow heat-up and slow cooling of the kiln charge before it falls from the kiln. and 2) in the specially designed clinker coolers after the material falls out of the kiln.

Tertiary air inlet design and location. This gives rapid heat up and cool down of clinker to give the best reactivity. reduced back end temperature for minimizing heat losses in the exit gases and from shell radiation. Sadly though. It is usually the major cost element and kiln performance dictates the efficiency. Generally. fan capacity. An additional 5% to 10% production in a year will impact spectacularly on the profit line given the large proportion of fixed costs at a cement plant. The cement kiln requires a particular heat transfer regime for best fuel economy. tertiary air offtakes. and be designed with due consideration of this total system.. without much indication of how they will perform with the specific kiln under consideration. tertiary air ducts. The combustion system should be considered as an integral part of the pyro-processing system. secondary air temperature and velocity. and seemingly small improvements here can have a major impact on the economics of running the whole plant. The capital investment in a cement plant is substantial and it is high risk to entrust the performance of this investment to a relatively low-cost component (the burner system) without taking all reasonable steps to mitigate this risk.D. best use of I. including kiln. it can be false economy to simply select on the basis of initial purchase price alone. kiln hood. Combustion will be the major factor in determining kiln performance. it is often the case that evaluation and choice of burners either for new kilns or replacement systems is based on capacity and purchase price only. cooler bull nose. and tertiary air temperature and velocity will likewise determine the airflow patterns in a flash calciner. Kiln Aerodynamics It is surprising how small differences in cooler throat. . cooler. This needs to be balanced against refractory heat load and kiln operating stability.250 Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing KILN BURNERS Combustion and the Cement Process Pyro-processing is the heart of the cement-making process. emissions. The flame must not impact on the kiln charge or refractories and complete combustion must occur in the kiln to reduce potential for build up and ring formation. and plant run factors. When deciding on a burner. and suffer long-term poor performance for the plant or extended commissioning times. optimum product quality and maximum production. plant output. calciner etc. a short hot burning zone at the front of the kiln is optimal. product quality. and air leakage points to name a few can have an enormous effect on the air flow patterns in the combustion environment of the rotary kiln. and reduced NOx formation.

Total System Considerations in Design In order to ensure that all relevant factors are taken into account in combustion system design. In particular. Hood Flame (a) Satellite coolers with inlets to kiln radially off-set Flame (b) Figure 3.b. Some typical kiln aerodynamic patterns encountered during kiln studies. Such modeling takes into consideration specific parameters including: .9-a.9-a. given that 85% to 100% of the combustion air comes from this source and the momentum of these large airflows dominates the combustion region.1.1. modeling techniques can be used to analyze the fuel/air interaction in combustion environments and for predicting heat release and heat flux profiles. process parameters and kiln system design must be considered when designing a burner for a given application.Kiln Burning Systems 251 The fuel introduced by the burner will clearly be influenced by the secondary and tertiary air flow patterns.b. Typical aerodynamic patterns in two different kiln combustion zones are shown in Figure 3.

KILN BURNER TYPES The following section will cover the types and operational features of different burners used in cement manufacturing. radiation).10. type. kiln. The nature and rate of mixing is determined by the relative momentum of the various jet streams as well as the system aerodynamics.10. Observation from a fuel/air mixing model using acid-alkali techniques is shown in Figure 3. cooler bull nose. burner position. a combination of physical and mathematical modeling provides the best information for arriving at an optimized burner design. Friction between the different jet streams creates local turbulence at the boundaries with the fuel jet expanding as it entrains surrounding air. off-take ducts. burner channels (types. numbers and sizes).1. as well as ensuring that the techniques used have been adequately validated. and heat flux profiles developed As no single modeling technique can provide all the answers.1. such as fuel rate. and tertiary air inlet • Process design. burner angle. heat transfer (convection. Figure 3. Fuel/Air mixing modeled using acid-alkali techniques.252 Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing • Geometric design of cooler. properties. secondary air and tertiary air temperature. fuel/air mixing occurs as a result of secondary air entrainment into the fuel and primary air jet. mass and velocity. primary air mass and velocity. . production rates. Turbulent Jet Diffusion Burners For most kiln burners. cooler throat. conduction. The overriding consideration when implementing results of modeling work is understanding the limitations and the conclusions that can be drawn from each technique. calciner size and shape.

If the burner momentum is greater than that required for complete secondary air entrainment. Typical multi-fuel burner. fuel jet momentum. velocity. and directional flows must all be considered in the design process as these affect the burner system design. the secondary air to be entrained into the fuel jet is limited to that coming from the cooler. Idealized flame in rotary kiln showing secondary air entrainment and recirculation of combustion gases indicating adequate burner momentum for satisfactory fuel/air mixing. and burner insertion length and direction. that too much recirculation can be detrimental to fuel efficiency and produce an overly aggressive combustion environment. The secondary air temperature.11. axial and radial flow splits. An ideal flame from use of secondary air entrainment and recirculation is shown in Figure 3. . and a long.Kiln Burning Systems 253 In a rotary kiln. Note though. Figure 3.11. This so-called “recirculation” has a positive effect in stabilizing the flame (making it less susceptible to minor process fluctuations) and in protecting refractory surfaces from burning fuel particles. Good burner design therefore requires optimizing fuel jet momentum and primary air mass and velocity to create a recirculatory flame while interacting with that particular kiln system’s aerodynamics. then the excess momentum of the fuel jet is dissipated in pulling back exhaust gases from further down the kiln into the flame.12. The variables to optimize include primary air mass and velocity.1. then fuel/air mixing will be inadequate for good combustion. and the expansion of the fuel jet is constrained by the diameter of the kiln. Secondary air Primary air and fuel Secondary air Recirculated combustion gases Figure 3.1.1. A typical multi-fuel burner used in a rotary kiln is shown in Figure 3.12. mass.1. lazy flame with high CO is the likely result. If the burner jet momentum (fuel and primary air) is less than that required for complete entrainment.

Gas burners are more prone to instability because of the high ignition temperature. . While 5% to 10% excess air is Incomplete Optimum normal to achieve good combustion operating range combustion. as well as lost output for a given kiln (normally fan or draft limited).5 2. The effect of excess air on heat loss and fuel consumption (losses in efficiency. Once a kiln is up to operating temperature.0 2. Flame envelope Unburnt gas Unstable flame – results in uncontrolled heat transfer – Risk of ‘flame out’ and explosion Figure 3.13. Unstable flame due to variable point of ignition. and narrow flammability limits for this fuel. Flame Stability Unstable flames adversely affect kiln operation as well as being unsafe to plant and personnel. Ensuring early ignition of fuel entering the combustion zone enhances flame stability.0 loss to the plant.5 3.13 shows a relationship between excess air and fuel efficiency during the kiln operation.1. There is a high risk of flame out.1. this can be by a continuous pilot burner. This loss Oxygen level in kiln-exhaust gas. radiation from refractory provides the ignition energy. but in rotary kilns this is best achieved by ensuring recirculation of hot gases as the ignition source for new fuel.5 0 0. slow flame propagation speed.5 1.1. % manifests as high specific fuel Figure 3.14. Figure 3.14. and high specific energy consumption (greater volume of exhaust gases). exhaust gases). In some applications.0 1.1.254 Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing Excess Air Levels Flue gas heat loss One symptom of combustion problems is the need to operate with abnormally high excess air levels to avoid high CO at the kiln inlet. An unstable flame is one that has a varying ignition point and a variable stand off distance from the burner tip as shown in Figure 3. levels above this represent a severe economic -0. and substantial amount of unburnt fuel between the burner tip and the ignition point that is a potential explosion risk.

1.17). Burner Flame envelope Figure 3.16. swirl would broaden the flame that can adversely affect refractory life due to flame impingement (see Figure 3. Internal circulation can be induced by the use of a bluff body to create a low pressure region in the center of the burner nozzle that then draws hot combustion gases back into this region.16. Each case is designed on the merits of the fuel and the combustion environment in which it will operate.1.Kiln Burning Systems 255 External circulation from properly designed burners brings hot combustion gases back into the combustion region to help stabilize the ignition point. In oil firing. A more durable means of creating internal flame re-circulation is the use of swirl in either the fuel or primary air jet stream as shown in Figure 3. Flame stabilized by internal circulation. Bluff bodies. though.15. the most effective design uses limited swirl for both primary air and gas fuel. can suffer heat damage in this demanding location (see Figure 3. This can then act as the ignition source for the new fuel. . primary air swirl is typically used.1. while for solid fuel firing swirl is often unnecessary for producing a stable flame.1.1. In gas firing.15). However. Internal circulation can be even more effective. Reverse flow Primary air Gas Primary air Bluff body Figure 3. Stabilization of flame with internal recirculation created by bluff body.

but the novel fluid-mechanical flow provides a genuinely new way of mixing fuel and air.000 6000 5000 J B N CL Primary jet 2498 2600 Outlet Dam cone 2498 ring Discharge zone 4290 Dia. Gas Jet precession Figure 3. A 27.000 14. However.1. This emerging technology has so far been used in gas burning or gas/coal burning applications. a coal-only burner using Gyro-Therm technology is near commercialization. Gyro-Therm Burners The Gyro-Therm® “Precessing Jet” burner technology has been designed to be mechanically very simple.1.18.000 Burning zone 4600 Cam section Figure Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing 20.17. Cross sectional diagram of the precessing jet nozzle and the flow field generated from it. . The precessing jet nozzle used in these burners produces a fuel jet stream exiting the burner nozzle that exhibits a stirring action into the combustion environment as shown in Figure 3. This produces flames with different characteristics (compared to turbulent diffusion jet burners) that have been proven to give operational and environmental advantages in kiln firing. 4750 Dia. Flame impingement on refractory in the absence of re-circulation.

A simple but extremely effective flame shaping technique is built into the burner. via the “stirring” action of the jet and a rapidly spreading flame. The technique for flame shape adjustment is based on a high momentum gas jet injected at a critical point into the precessing jet flow field. An air channel is provided for burner cooling and for flame shaping during the warm-up phase. the flame spread is reduced and the heat flux profile lengthened. The design of the Gyro-Therm burner includes an additional gas channel for flame shape adjustment and optional cooling air. As the proportion of gas is increased through the center body jet. CBJ) is expelled through the center body of the precessing jet nozzle. The precessing motion is generated without any moving parts within the Gyro-Therm nozzle.1. The effect is to produce large-scale mixing. PJ Gas Flame shaping gas Cooling air Figure 3. This fact is important in rotary kilns where direct impingement of a flame on the product could produce instability or reducing conditions which would be detrimental to product quality or damage the refractory.19. A schematic of Gyro-Therm burner with gas channel for flame adjustment and cooling air is shown in Figure 3. This is in contrast to the fine scale mixing of turbulent jet diffusion burners. the amount of spread can be controlled. modifying the pressure fields within the vicinity of the burner in such a way that the fuel gas is directed more toward the kiln axis.1. .19. This jet (termed the center body jet.Kiln Burning Systems 257 The flame itself does not precess. The resultant effects of this new technology include: • Sub-stoichiometric combustion within flame envelope with complete combustion at the flame boundaries in a normal kiln environment • Highly luminous flames enhancing heat transfer to kiln charge • Low axial velocity of fuel jet giving short bulbous flame • Low thermal NOx formation • No primary air needed for gas fuel and a stable flame anchored to the nozzle Although the flame spreads more than that from a conventional turbulent jet nozzle.

Calciner burner designs can vary from a simple pipe through which to introduce fuel. and natural gas – because of its more stringent combustion prerequisites.1.20. refractory profiles to produce much improved calciner aerodynamics and hence greatly improve calciner combustion. the location and design of calciner burners can become extremely critical to the performance of the calciner. As for kiln burners. Calciner aerodynamics are dominated by the tertiary air due to its mass and comparatively high velocity at the calciner inlet. require more residence time (larger calciner) for satisfactory combustion. satisfactory fuel/air mixing is the first requirement for good combustion. As for any combustion environment. Typical aerodynamic problems encountered in more. modeling can often determine simple redesign of internal calciner operation that impair calciner combustion. This is obviously a cheaper capital and operating cost solution. Only in rare cases will primary air be required in a calciner burner to overcome any serious aerodynamic problems.20. a simple pipe will perform as well as the more complex designs if it is correctly located and designed. Due to the short residence time in calciners (2 to 3 seconds). with oxidation of the fuel occurring under “flameless” conditions. to more sophisticated designs that are smaller versions of kiln burners.258 Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing CALCINER BURNERS Calciner combustion is quite different from kiln combustion. In most cases. Some fuels such as petcoke – because of its low volatile content. Often. With such prevailing conditions. combustion can be sensitive to fuel properties. physical modeling can reveal the flow patterns within a calciner. The airflow patterns can become quite complex with changes in the calciner cross section producing effects such as strong recirculation zones and streaming as depicted in Figure 3. . FurtherFigure 3. there is no defined flame in the vessel.1. and allow the location of burners and their design (injection velocities and momentum) to be determined for best performance.

this will involve identifying bottlenecks to increased production and how these can be addressed through the use of oxygen. together with increased demand for cement. However. have combined in some regions to make the strategic use of oxygen a viable alternative for increasing production. This is particularly so where short term peaks in demand are encountered and oxygen injection can be implemented without significant plant down time for modifications. These benefits arise from increased flame temperature (leading to improved heat transfer rates).1. preventing the wholesale use of oxygen to enhance cement kiln performance.1. Oxygen injection can be carried out either in the kiln or calciner. Modeling to determine the design of the oxygen injection system into the calciner. and reduced combustion gas volume (due to less nitrogen). through the preheater tower. A modeling strategy for designing oxygen-injecting system for a calciner is shown in Figure 3. kiln back end. or through the bag filter or electrostatic precipitator • Reduce pressure drop through the kiln system because of reduced gas velocities • Reduce preheater exit temperature because of higher feed-to-gas ratio Figure 3. The availability of cheaper production methods for oxygen such as the vacuum swing adsorption process. this will lead to reduced specific fuel consumption (less waste gas volume and better heat transfer) and increased production from a particular kiln. The effect on NOx emissions will be variable.Kiln Burning Systems 259 OXYGEN INJECTION The technical benefits available from using oxygen to replace air for combustion in cement kilns have long been recognized. and therefore increase output • Reduce gas velocity in the burning zone.21. In general. faster reaction rates with some difficult fuels. calciner exit. • Increase calciner residence time • Increase flame temperature and heat transfer to material . Strategic use of oxygen can impart the following processing benefits: • Allow more fuel to be burned in either the kiln or calciner where fan capacity is limiting output. Generally. A process evaluation of the specific kiln system will reveal the most advantageous point.21. but with small amounts of oxygen substitution NOx will usually increase as a consequence of elevated flame temperature. the cost of oxygen has generally been prohibitive in the past.

7 0.1 53. the calculated or hypothetical composition differs from actual analysis of clinker by X-ray diffraction or microscopic analysis.9 The hypothetical compounds are calculated using the Bogue equations to determine the percentage of calcium silicates (C3S and C2S).1 C3S 60.8 2.6 -610. clinker.12 0.7 8.8 8.4 22.3 18. Typical Composition of Raw Meal. KILN THERMAL CONSIDERATIONS The function of the kiln system is to convert the raw meal into clinker in the most efficient way and to produce clinker with an optimal mineralogy for acceptable cement performance.17 0.3 2.2 0.3 54.0 24.3 22.17 0. Table 3.37 0. In reality.8 C4AF 8.0 CaO MgO 1.6 60.30 2.05 0 0 0 LOI 35.8 1.3 TiO2 0.6 C2S 18.1.1 0.19 P2O5 0.78 AR 1. and select processing parameters are given in Table 3.5 SR 2.6 Al2O3 3.9 2.5 50.9 Na2O 0.2 5.260 Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing However.2.4 41.7 91.0 26. Typical chemical analysis of raw meal.60 0.77 LSF 91. Clinker.11 0.2 5.2 8.2 Fe2O3 1. and Relevant Processing Parameters Parameters Raw meal Loss free Coal ash Clinker SiO2 14.17 Cl 0.9 1.6 65.6 K2O 0.5 8.1 0. which would be present in the clinker if all reactions proceeded to completion under equilibrium conditions.8 2.57 0.26 0.7 2.9 42.3 616.93 1. there are also potential risks of overheating refractories and kiln charge or calciner feed unless due consideration is given to the design of injection points and oxygen lances.03 0.6 1.26 Mn2O3 0.8 16.4 C3A 8.3 91. calcium aluminate (C3A) and calcium alumino ferrite (C4AF) phases.8 1.02 0.0 SO3 0. This is because chemical .4 65.

Localized variations can also be created by deposition of coal ash on the kiln charge or irregular return of kiln dust back to the kiln. and volatile and dust cycles. In general. Some aspects of plant operation that help kiln performance are kiln feed size. high NOx. Na. homogeneity. β. and poor product reactivity. γ). all are critical to cement quality. these are discussed in the following sections. are found. kiln time/temperature profile. this will imply that some of the easier-to-burn regions may be overburnt in order to completely burn the difficult-to-burn regions. In addition. 261 . it is found that: • Alite content is usually higher than the calculated amount by an average of 13% • Belite is usually lower than the calculated amount by an average of 6% • Aluminate and ferrite phases can be either higher or lower. and K. Coarser particles require a higher reaction temperature and are likely to form relicts of the larger particles they originate from as alite and belite clusters. as well as the position in the structure where minor elements such as Mg. Kiln Feed Sizing The kiln feed must be ground finely enough. and the nature of the liquid phase. the formation of these crystals (α. The difference between well homogenized and poorly homogenized kiln feed can be an increase of up to 200°C in the operating temperature of the burning zone. within the context of the raw materials mineralogy. but on average are 2% lower than calculated The critical stages for clinker quality are: • The heat-up rate of the kiln charge after the calcination process • The maximum temperature and residence time at that temperature • The cooling rate to below 1200°C These stages determine the size of alite and belite crystals and their reactivity. Kiln Feed Homogeneity Localized chemical variations that occur when kiln feed is not properly homogenized mean there are different localized requirements for raw meal to form clinker. heat balance.Kiln Burning Systems equilibrium is reached only occasionally. to allow the particles to react together within the time and temperature conditions in the kiln. small amounts of trace elements can have a profound effect on the eventual mineralogical composition of clinker. and the degree to which actual analysis differs from the calculated analysis is influenced by the heat treatment of the material. poor refractory life. the associated high fuel consumption. In a kiln situation.

convection loss Total heat consumption = (endothermic heat – exothermic heat) + heat losses due to inefficiencies 3275 5475 782 1307 . it will form small crystals of alite surrounded by abundant (solidified) liquid phase.3. as this produces poor quality clinker. whereas the belite will exist in discrete clusters. Table 3. There must be no material flushing or underburning. If clinker is underburnt. There may also be significant free lime present together with alite and belite. which has not had the opportunity to completely react.1. gas. The material bed must tumble adequately to ensure uniform heating through the mass. Overburnt clinker will have large alite and belite crystals. clinker. clinker minerals Crystallization of melt Cooling of clinker Cooling of CO2 Cooling of water Sub total kJ/kg 170 1990 105 2050 4315 kJ/kg 40 420 105 1400 500 85 2550 kcal/kg 40 475 25 490 1050 kcal/kg 10 100 25 335 120 20 610 Net heat for clinker formation (endothermic heat – exothermic heat) 1765 420 kJ/kg Dry Wet process process 20 2100 840 1250 650 360 kcal/kg Dry Wet process process 5 502 201 299 156 86 Add Inefficiencies Heat losses related to inefficiencies during the kiln operation Evaporation of water Heat losses.262 Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing Time/Temperature Profile The kiln charge must spend sufficient time at a high enough temperature to reach near complete reaction to form clinker minerals. Kiln Heat Balance A summary of a typical kiln heat balance during clinkering reaction is shown in Table 3. dust Radiation. and exhibit poor reactivity.1.3. Summarized Data on a Typical Kiln Heat Balance Endothermic reactions Dehydration of clays Calcination Heat of melting Heating raw mats (1450°C) Sub total Exothermic reactions Crystallization dehydrated clay Heat of formation.

116% SiO2 – 0.646% CaO– 5.Kiln Burning Systems 263 The heat of formation (Q) of the clinker minerals is a function of the chemical composition and the mineralogical composition. releasing the latent heat • Liquid phase materials which melt in the hotter parts of the kiln and resolidify in the cooling section of the kiln • Some phase changes occurring in the main clinker minerals as they cool . where 5% to 10% of the clinker is recycling between the two. there are dust cycles in the system which move heat around. It can be expressed as kcal/kg in a general equation as follows: Q = 2. • Dust cycle between the burning zone and the back of the kiln. removing heat from the burning zone to the back of the kiln. These dust cycles can limit a given kiln’s output. which are lost to the kiln system. such as: • Dust cycle between the cooler and kiln. This includes: • Volatile materials which vaporize in the burning zone (predominantly alkali sulfates. moving high grade heat from the kiln to the cooler. If alkalies are present. and all analyses are on clinker. However. Kiln Volatile and Dust Cycles The kiln burner is the main source of heat input to the rotary kiln and is primarily responsible for setting the heat flux profile in the kiln. where 20% to 30% of material flow is returned back to higher cyclones. Secondly. Firstly. amounting to some 10% of kiln feed. • Kiln dust losses. and chlorides) and recondense in cooler parts of the system. leading to kiln instability.59% Fe2O3 (2) Where hH = % water of crystallization in the clay. the heat of formation is reduced by about 2 kcal/kg. there are other significant but insidious factors which need to be considered. This can be about 10% of the kiln throughput.48% MgO+7.86% hH +6. g/100g clinker. as increasing gas velocities through the system will eventually render the kiln inoperative. The increasing dust loads will increase kiln back end temperatures and reduce kiln burning zone temperatures.22% Al2O3 +5. there are phase changes that move heat within and around the system in the form of latent heat of the materials. and returning back to the kiln at lower temperature. • Dust cycles between cyclone stages. • Dust cycle between the kiln and the preheater kiln. taking some 10% of kiln feed and associated heat back into the preheater.

these salts generally will appear in the melt in the temperature range of 600°C to 800°C. the calcination reaction. % 60 to 80 40 to 60 50 to 60 35 to 50 60 to 80 — These materials are not usually in the pure form. Melting Points and Relative Volatilities of Different Compounds in Kiln Burning Zone Volatile compounds KCl K2SO4 NaCl Na2SO4 CaCl2 CaSO4 Melting point. but form a eutectic mixture with an overall melting point below that of the pure salts. There are also other factors that lead to different mechanisms and types of ring formation as are discussed in the following sections. The heat exchange occurring within a kiln is therefore a multi-dimensional phenomenon. °C 776 1069 801 884 772 1280 Range of volatility. Kiln Volatiles The kiln volatiles referred to in cement manufacture are those compounds that volatilize in the burning zone of a rotary kiln and recondense in the cooler parts of the kiln or preheater.1. In practice. As they pass through a sticky condition during the melting/vaporization and recondensing stages.4. and heats of formation of the various components. The volatile compounds cannot readily escape from the kiln system because they condense (before they can be removed in the exit gas stream) and re-enter the kiln. they can be catalysts for forming coating buildup in the preheater tower and rings in the back end of the kiln.1. They are usually sodium or potassium sulfates and chlorides. the secondary air heat input to the kiln. Their concentration will therefore continue to build. Table 3. These can be particularly disruptive to kiln operation in the cyclone preheater tower.4. but can also include certain calcium salts. Their melting points and relative volatilities in the kiln burning zone are given in Table 3. sometimes reaching a concentration in the recycle stream significantly greater than the concentration in the raw materials.264 Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing Other less insidious factors are the sensible heat of introduced streams. KILN RINGS AND BUILDUPS The formation of kiln rings and subsequent buildups result from melt formation followed by solidification that act as binder for dust particles to agglomerate. . and older preheater kilns can run into severe operational problems because the effect of the volatile cycle was unrecognized in their design.

and there is an alkali bypass installed. • A higher burning zone temperature as required for harder burning mix will increase volatility. If there is an excess of alkalies. while higher oxygen levels will decrease it. • The mineralogical composition of raw materials producing volatiles is a major determinant of the alkali volatility. the acceptable concentration limits of these materials (as % of clinker) in the kiln riser are: Na2O and K2O < 3% to 5% SO3 < 3% to 5% Cl < 1. and CaCl2 can be added to the mix to promote alkali volatility. There are also likely to be rings and buildup formed in the kiln system from a variety of other alkali salts produced. increasing their volatility.Kiln Burning Systems 265 As a guide. . while sodium volatility is increased at 1400°C. Alkali volatility is an advantage. Alkalies will preferentially combine with any chloride present. then calcium sulfate will form from which the sulfur will volatilize completely. • The fineness of raw meal has an indirect effect if it produces an easier burning mix. A higher gas velocity reduces the vapor pressure of volatiles in the atmosphere. depending on the alkali carriers. • Increased water vapor promotes formation of alkali hydroxides that are more volatile than the sulfates. while the sodium volatility is unaffected. The volatility of sodium and potassium is less affected by oxygen levels than that of sulfur. In some cases. Potassium volatility is increased at 1200°C. A kiln operating beyond its design limitations could be adversely affected. alkali aluminate can form which will cause stiffening problems in concrete and mortar. Mica > illite > feldspar. If there is an excess of sulfur. an easier burning material means lower burning zone temperature and hence less volatility.6% The factors that influence the volatility of these materials are: • The gas velocity in the burning zone has a strong influence on the volatility of these materials. • A higher CO2 concentration in the kiln will increase volatility of sodium and potassium. Also. where low alkali cement is the target. A further factor is the alkali-to-sulfur ratio.2% to 1. The best alkali-to-sulfur ratio is when there is just enough sulfur present to combine stoichiometrically with the remaining alkalies. • SO2 (from the fuel) reduces the volatility of potassium. The equilibrium reaction is Me(SO4)m = nMeO + mSO2 + m/2O2 (3) A low oxygen level shifts the equilibrium to the right. • Reducing conditions will increase the volatility of sulfur.

but during the course of a kiln turn. Sinter Rings Sinter rings form at the beginning of the burning zone. The kiln charge material is still too fine to break up the formation at that point. and it will continue to grow. often layered. some of the kiln charge material adheres onto the sticky ash. This type of buildup is the result of a long cool flame in the kiln. This process can repeat until a ring forms. The rings are usually dense. or a ring acting as a dam and retaining material for a long time. Kiln Charge Balls These can form upstream of sinter rings. The liquid phase freezes and binds the clinker particles together. As the kiln turns. they are usually made up of a relatively low melting point eutectic mixture. The rings form when sticky ash impinges and deposits onto the refractory surface. sometimes glassy. This type of ring is most likely to develop where there is a long and flat heat flux profile in the kiln. together with high burning zone gas velocities laden with dust. agglomeration of clinker and salt melt. It is usually a symptom of slow cooling in the kiln.5 kiln diameters from the discharge end. Coal Ash Sinter Rings These rings tend to develop when high ash coal is used at a position 7 to 8. and they also have an appearance and composition like clinker. The ring gradually builds as more and more ash and charge material stick on top of each other as the kiln operates. They are clinker-like in appearance and composition.266 Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing Preheater Kiln Middle Rings These are dense hard rings that form at 7 to 10 kiln diameters from the kiln discharge and are typically 15 to 20 m long. Clinker Rings/Cooler Inlet Deposits These types of rings form at the kiln discharge end or as buildup in the cooler inlet. and have a composition and mineralogy similar to clinker. . These rings establish at the point in the kiln where the liquid phase is beginning to form. They are made up of a combination of calcined material generated by stripping and balling up of old coating. binding clinker particles together. and can be up to 1 m in diameter. the melt comes into contact with a cooler surface and resolidifies. The mechanism of bonding is freezing of the clinker phase when clinker dust is carried from the burning zone and deposited on a cooler refractory surface (< 1250°C) behind the burning zone. Chemically. Such a ring is due to the liquid phase solidifying and binding clinker pieces together.

such as uniform feed rate.Kiln Burning Systems Minimization of Kiln Buildup and Rings Kiln rings can be minimized by: • Stable kiln operation. 267 . Improvement in Manufacture of Cement. 1885. refractory life. There is no single factor that can be considered in isolation when seeking to optimize kiln performance and product quality. F. An optimization approach to a cement manufacturing plant should therefore consider a total holistic approach from the quarry to the lorry. and environmental impact. May 2. and a well-designed combustion system • Lower kiln system velocities and dust loads • Lower volatile cycles attained by: – choice of raw materials – minimize < 20µ material in raw meal – discard some kiln dust to control % volatiles in kiln – eliminate cold air leakage into the P/H to avoid cold spots • Avoid sinter rings by controlling liquid phase level and selecting refractories less prone to clinging by liquid phase • Avoid coal ash rings by using lower ash coal or improving burner design • Avoid clinker rings by burning closer to the kiln discharge (burner design) and using blasters for any snowmen in cooler • Maintain an oxidizing environment in the burning zone • Maintain a short heat flux profile (burner design) • Optimize chemistry and mineralogy of raw mix to give an easier burning kiln feed • Optimize kiln aerodynamics to avoid high velocity areas and flame impingement CONCLUSIONS The heat transfer processes occurring inside a kiln are multi-dimensional and extremely complicated. REFERENCES Ransome. kiln stability. chemical composition. examining each stage in detail and the impact of each stage on the total plant operation and economics. The kiln operation and the combustion system will determine as to what extent the potential inherent in the raw materials will be realized. and fineness of coal and raw meal.. clinker quality. The raw materials and kiln feed preparation will have a major impact on kiln performance and will set the blueprint for fuel economy. kiln throughput. English Patent #5442.

268 Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing .