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CICE 2010 - The 5th International Conference on FRP Composites in Civil Engineering

September 27-29, 2010 Beijing, China

Protection of Aged Cement Clinker Silo

Against High Impact and High Temperature Discharge
Lim Boon Kok, Fyfe Asia Pte Ltd
Yang Ming Hui, Fyfe Asia Pte Ltd

Located in the outskirts of Lhasa (the capital of Tibet) at an altitude of more than 4000 meters above
sea level, this cement clinker silo is a cylindrical, reinforced concrete structure measuring 45m high.
An annual maintenance service discovered extensive cracks and severe concrete spalling within the
clinkers inner walls. Some of the beams have been badly damaged and even fractured. In several areas, the
concrete cover had already spalled to such depth that the rebars were exposed.
The damage to the concrete cover was caused by the highly abrasive effect of the clinker during
discharge operations while the constant impact force on the inner concrete walls and beams was the cause of
the extensive structural cracks and fracture in some beams. Moreover, the operating temperature in the silo is
about 150 deg C, a high temperature dry heat environment which accelerated the concrete spalling process.
A strengthening scheme using TYFOSEH 51 and TYFOT, a high temperature resistant epoxy was
adopted to strengthen the damaged beams. The TYFO T was proposed in view of the constant high operating
temperature of 150 deg C.
Since the structural members were constantly exposed to recurring high impact and abrasive actions, a
mixture of high temperature resistant TYFO T and silicon carbide powder was used as an external protective
layer. Despite the harsh and unforgiving environment, the project took only one month to complete and the
silo resumed production in January 2009 and has been incident-free to date.

1.0 General fluctuations in seasonal and daily temperatures as

well as earthquakes in the vicinity. These factors
1.1 Introduction were not properly addressed during the design stage
The affected clinker silo is one of several in Lhasa which not only led to monetary losses incurred due
owned by the Tibet Cement Corporation, a major to frequent repair works but also posed a danger to
local cement manufacturer. Lhasa is situated in one the silo workers.
of the highest regions in the world, with an average
elevation of 4000 meters and is subjected to high The three main factors that contributed to the
temperatures in the summer and intense cold in the deterioration rate of the aged clinker silo are (i) high
winter. The extensive damage to the cement clinker and fluctuating operating temperatures, (ii) high
storage silo was a result of a combination of abrasion and (iii) impact forces during discharge of
continuous internal exposure to high working clinkers. In order to overcome these problems
temperature of 150 degree Celsius, plus high caused by both natural and operational processes, the
abrasion and impact forces from the discharge of design engineer and the contractors engineer held
cement clinker onto the structural members as well several discussions on possible solutions to lengthen
external exposure to the harsh environmental the life span of the clinker silo.
2.0 Temperature Effects
Earlier in 2007, another cement storage silo at the 2.1 Clinker Silo High Temperature
same site had been successfully strengthened by
Fyfe China using similar methods. It was completed Reinforced concrete cracks formation is a concrete
at a lower cost and proved to perform much better deterioration mechanism developed under severe
than the traditional steel plate bonding technique conditions mainly due to both environmental and
done by the previous contractor, which had caused loading effects. Crack formation will lead to a
frequent shutdowns due to the steel plates decrease in strength and other physical properties of
occasionally debonding and obstructing the the reinforced concrete structure. Concrete is porous
discharge chute. in nature and deterioration occurs mostly due to the
complex processes in its capillary- porous structure.
1.2 The Tibet Cement Clinker Storage Silo
Coupled with widely fluctuating temperatures during
The aged silo had been in operation for several years operation, the silo is simultaneously exposed to
under high differential temperature gradient, wide constantly changing differential temperature
gradients in the silo walls. Meteorological will cause the straining of concrete cover.
temperature changes will also cause the external Development of tensile stresses at the surface will
concrete to expand and contract accordingly. In accelerate and leads to the formation of cracks.
summer, the daytime temperature can reach as high
as 25 degree Celsius while the night time 3.0 Carbonation Effects
temperature can drop to as low as 8 degree Celsius
while in winter, the maximum daytime temperature In normal circumstances, the reinforcing steel in the
is 8 deg C with night time temperatures at minus 10 concrete does not corrode. The initial corrosion
deg C (refer to Figure 1). reaction forms a passive oxide film on the surface of
the steel and with the introduction of high alkalinity
Also, when the internal concrete is exposed to high from the freshly placed concrete; it stabilizes the
temperatures during operation, dehydration of oxide film ensuring steel protection.
calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) will cause the
cement paste to shrink, while the aggregates expand. However, once the carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) from the
Therefore, exposing the internal concrete to high atmosphere diffuses through the porous concrete and
temperatures for a long time will cause its cover to neutralizes the alkalinity of concrete, carbonation of
spall. Being continuously exposed to the above the steel reinforcement starts again. Without suitable
mentioned process, the clinker silos internal remedies, extensive corrosion of the steel
concrete cover first weakens while the continuous reinforcement will lead to structural failure in the
impact/ abrasive forces during the discharge worst case scenario.
operations gradually dislodge the concrete cover
through the path of weakest resistance. 4.0 Freeze-Thaw Effects

Temperatures in Tibet frequently fluctuate above

and below freezing point. When water that has
entered the concrete surface cracks freezes, the ice
formed strains the cracks and causes them to deepen
and widen. When the ice thaws, water can flow
further into the concrete surfaces cracks. When the
temperature drops below freezing point and the
water freezes again, the ice enlarges the cracks
further causing more strain to the concrete cover.
Extensive weakening of the concrete will expose the
reinforcement steel.

5.0 Mechanical Effects Caused By Operational

Hazard: High Abrasion and Impact Forces

After the heating process at the kiln, the molten

Figure 1: Lhasa, Tibet, China Climate Annual cement clinker is being cooled by cooler to a
Graph temperature of about 150oC. It is then being
transported and stored in the clinker silo for further
2.2 Condensation Due to Cooler Atmospheric grinding processes. The working temperature in the
Temperature and Warmer Clinker Silos Surface clinker silo throughout the year is maintained at
about 150 degree Celsius. As the clinker is being
Condensation occurs when the surface of a warmer discharged into the storage silo, the molten clinker
clinker silo comes in contact with a cooler rolls and grinds against the concrete surfaces and
atmospheric temperature. This causes moisture to supporting beams.
build over a long period of time, whereby the water
molecules will slowly seep into the porous concrete The constant high impact forces from the discharge
body. Moisture content in concrete contributes weaken the concrete cover while the abrasive forces
significantly to expansion and contraction stresses from the clinker will eventually wear off the
during temperature changes. concrete cover if there is no proper anti-abrasion and
impact treatment. Therefore, to prevent the concrete
When the concrete gains moisture through surface cover from eventually wearing off completely and
condensation or rain, it will expand. As concrete resulting in the beams significant loss in load
drying process occurs, the surface will dry faster bearing capacity, an anti abrasion and anti impact
than the inner portion of the concrete causing protective coating is needed to mitigate the effect.
contraction. The action of contraction and expansion
6.0 Previous Strengthening Method Unsuccessful characteristics of the specimen. Rapid changes in
viscoelastic properties at particular temperatures,
The aged clinker storage silo had earlier been times, or frequency are normally referred to as
strengthened using the steel plate epoxy bonding transition regions.
technique. The disadvantage of using this technique
is that the set up is very bulky and time consuming. 7.1 Strengthening and Installation
Tailor made steel plates are required and it is highly
labour intensive, time consuming and dangerous Beams and columns- damaged concrete cover is first
considering heavy lifting works required in oxygen removed and patch repair done while corroded
deprived working conditions. After the previous
reinforcements were treated and damaged ones
strengthening works was carried out by another
replaced with new ones welded onto existing ones.
contractor, major problems started to surface once
the silo commenced full production. Due to the high Previously installed protective steel angles along the
working temperature of 150 degree Celsius, some edge lines of beams and columns were inspected and
steel plates debonded from the concrete surfaces all gaps between the steel angles and concrete
over several occasions. surfaces were grouted with high strength mortar. The
same mortar is then toweled throughout to form a
From examination of the dislodged steel plates and flush surface after which 200mm strips of TYFO
the debonded areas of the concrete surfaces, it was SEH 51 composite system were wrapped over the
found that the epoxy used to bond steel plates to the steel angles at the ends and mid spans of these
concrete was not capable of withstanding the high members (ref to Fig. 2) to provide a more robust
working temperature. Furthermore, problems caused anchorage. A unique mixture of silicon carbide
by impact and abrasive forces from the discharge power and preheated TYFOT High Temperature
were not addressed. Instead of providing the solution Resistance Epoxy is then trowelled over the entire
to the problems, the traditional strengthening beams and columns to form a high impact/abrasion
technique caused further substantial downtimes and protection layer.
monetary losses. There was an urgent need to
explore new methods of retrofitting the clinker silo
Silo walls- steel plates previously installed were
at the shortest possible time.
replaced by circumferentially wrapping with the
7.0 TYFO Fibrwrap Method TYFO SEH 51 composite system to compensate
for estimated 20% loss of the original hoop
Following the successful retrofitting of a similar silo reinforcement tensile strength due to corrosion.
in Tibet in year 2007, Fyfe China Pte Ltd was once These were originally designed to resist the
again called upon to provide a feasible and maximum hoop stresses developed in the silo walls
economical solution to address the factors listed in during the silo operation.
section 1.1 above. In order to withstand the high
working temperature of 150 degree Celsius, the
TYFOT epoxy was selected.

TYFOT is a high performance epoxy that has been

used on concrete, metallic and other structural
materials. It has excellent chemical resistance
Plane view Cross section view
towards chemicals such as sulfuric acid,
Figure 2: Views of Internal Beams and Columns
hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, chromic acid,
phosphoric acid etc. With its heat resistance property
The TYFO SEH 51 composite system has a higher
of 149 oC at continuous high working temperature to tensile strength than steel plate and yet has a unit
as high as 177oC at intermittent temperatures, the weight of only a fraction of steel plates. It is an ICC
epoxy is well suited to withstand the working ER-5282 listed material and has been used since
temperature of the clinker storage silo. Its glass 1988 to add strength and ductility to structural
transition temperature has been tested according to members. Due to such high strength to weight ratio,
the ASTM D4065-01, where cured specimens were it has proven to be a more cost effective method
placed in mechanical oscillation either at fixed or compared to traditional strengthening techniques.
natural resonant frequencies. Elastic or loss moduli,
or both of the specimens are measured while varying To address the issue of high abrasive and impact
time, temperature of the specimen or frequency, or forces occurring during discharge operations, a
both, of the oscillation. Plots of the elastic or loss mixture of silicon carbide powder and the TYFO T
moduli, or both, are indicative of viscoelastic epoxy was used as a final protective layer. Silicon
carbide is one of the hardest substances and is powder was then used as a lasting and durable
usually used as an abrasive and heat-refractory abrasion and impact resistant final protection coating.
material and in single crystals as semiconductors,
especially in high-temperature applications. The Table 1. TYFOSEH 51 Composite System
hardness of the silicon carbide is approximately COMPOSITE GROSS LAMINATE PROPERTIES
value 9 on the mohs hardness scale (Diamond has a PROPERTY ASTM TYPICAL TEST
value of 10 on the same scale). METHOD VALUE*
Ultimate Tensile D-3039 83,400 psi (575MPa)
Strength in primary
The abrasion resistance property of the silicon
fiber direction, Psi
carbide also makes it an appropriate solution for the
Elongation at break D-3039 2.2%
anti-abrasion coating for the clinker silo. Silicon Tensile Modulus D-3039 3.79 x 106 psi
carbide powder is premixed with TYFO T (mix psi (26.1GPa)
ratio of 3:1 by weight) to form a high temperature Ultimate Tensile D-3039 6,250 psi (43Mpa)
resistance anti-abrasion and anti-impact protective Strength 90 degrees
coating. The coating is then applied at minimum 5 to primary fiber, psi
mm thickness onto surfaces wrapped with the Laminate Thickness 0.05 in. 0.05 in. (1.3mm)
TYFO SEH 51 composite as well as exposed (1.3mm)
surfaces subject to clinker impact. This coating
provided effective abrasion and impact resistance to Table 2. TYFOT- High Temperature Resistant Epoxy
all affected surfaces as well as helps prevent EPOXY MATERIAL PROPERTIES
formation of structural cracks in surfaces areas not
strengthened with the TYFO SEH 51 composite PROPERTY TYPICAL TEST
system. VALUE*
Pencil hardness 3H
Due to the high-cost of shutdown, only one annual Impact Resistance, lbs 10/0
(direct /Reverse)
inspection is conducted during the coldest period of
Abrasion Resistance 0.030
winter. An inspector would hammer at and visually
1,000 cycles wt loss
evaluate the strengthened areas of the structure to gram
test whether air voids or delaminations have Service Temperature 149oC/ 177oC
occurred. Any voids or delaminations greater than 6 (continuous/
in diameter must be repaired according to the Intermittant)
procedures detailed in the project specifications. Chemical Resistance
Voids less than 6 in diameter must be repaired by
injecting with TYFO epoxy. Any delaminations Table 3. Silicon Carbide Powder
less than 2 in2 do not require any means of repair, as SILICON CARBIDE PROPERTIES
they do not adversely affect the performance of the PROPERTY UNITS
jacket. Small entrapped voids which naturally occur Flexural strength MPa 550
in mixed resin systems do not require attention. To Elastic Modulus GPa 410
date, there has been zero occurrence of blockage to Compressive Strength Mpa 3900
the discharge chute and no remedial works as Hardness Kg/mm2 2800
described above have been necessitated.
Fracture Toughness Mpam1/2 4.6
8.0 Conclusion Coefficient of Thermal 106/C 4.0
After the failure of a traditional strengthening References:
technique done previously, a new and innovative
approach to strengthening the aged clinker silo was M.K.Kassir, K.K. Bandyopadhyay & M. Reich.
introduced into Tibet. Based on site investigations, (1996): Thermal Degradation of Concrete in The
the core problems were first correctly identified and Temperature Range from Ambient to 315C (600F)
an economical and yet more effective method was
proposed and implemented successfully. ICC Evaluation Service Inc. (1996): Proposed
Acceptance Criteria for Concrete and Masonry
A unique combination of TYFO T epoxy and Strengthening Using Fiber-Reinforced Composite
TYFO SEH51 glass/kevlar fiber fabric was used to Systems, AC125-R1-0197, ICC Evalution Service
form a high temperature resistant composite system. Inc., Whitter, California.
This system not only increased the strength of the
ASTM Standards: D4065-01, Plastics: Dynamic
clinker silo, but also increased its durability as well Mechanical Properties: Determination and Report of
as extended its useful lifespan. An innovative Procedures.
combination of TYFO T epoxy and silicon carbide