Manufacturing and Hydration of Portland Cement

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The use of calcium-silicates as hydraulic binders dates back to, at least, the time of Roman Empire and the only type of material the modern civilization uses more of is water. Portland cement is the most widely-used of these types of binders and the understanding of the relationship between its composition, rates of hydration, and properties of the resulting hardened paste is critical to efficient and sustainable usage of this material.

The principal objectives of this course are to present the process of manufacturing of Portland cement, review its chemical and mineralogical (phase) composition, and to examine the mechanisms of hydration and hardening processes.

The course will start with the overview of raw materials used to manufacture Portland cement and the basis of the clinkerization process in the cement kiln. Various types of Portland cements and the relevant testing methods and specifications will be reviewed next. This will be followed by presentation of the characteristics of the main clinker phases and review of their reactivity with water.

The hydration mechanism of Portland cement will be presented next, including the review of the main hydration products and the techniques used to monitor the kinetics of hydration. The relationship between the porosity, shrinkage, durability and strength of the hydrated material will be examined as the function of the amount of water used in the mix.

Finally, the role of the chemical admixtures in the process of hydration will be examined as well.