Portland Cement: The story of the invention of Portland cement is, however, attributed to Joseph Aspdin, a Leeds builder and bricklayer, even though similar procedures had been adopted by other inventors. Joseph Aspdin took the patent of portland cement on 21st October 1824. Concrete is made by portland cement, water and aggregates. Portland cement is a hydraulic cement that hardens in water to form a water-resistant compound. The hydration products act as binder to hold the aggregates together to form concrete. The name portland cement comes from the fact that the colour and quality of the resulting concrete are similar to Portland stone, a kind of limestone found in England. Manufacture of Portland Cement: The raw materials required for manufacture of Portland cement are calcareous materials, such as limestone or chalk, and argillaceous material such as shale or clay. Cement factories are established where these raw materials are available in plenty. Cement factories have come up in many regions in India, eliminating the inconvenience of long distance transportation of raw materials.
The process of manufacture of cement consists of grinding the raw materials, mixing them intimately in certain proportions depending upon their purity and composition and burning them in a kiln at a temperature of about 1300 to 1500°C, at which temperature, the material sinters and partially fuses to form nodular shaped clinker. The clinker is cooled and ground to fine powder with addition of about 3 to 5% of gypsum. The product formed by using this procedure is Portland cement. There are two processes known as Wet process Dry process depending upon whether the mixing and grinding of raw materials is done in wet or dry conditions. For many years the wet process remained popular because of the possibility of more accurate control in the mixing of raw materials. Later, the dry process gained momentum with the modern development of the technique of dry mixing of powdered materials using compressed air. The dry process requires much less fuel as the materials are already in a dry state, whereas in the wet process
the slurry contains about 35 to 50 percent water. To dry the slurry we thus require more fuel. Wet Process In the wet process, the limestone brought from the quarries is first crushed to smaller fragments. Then it is taken to a ball or tube mill where it is mixed with clay or shale and ground to a fine consistency of slurry with the addition of water. The slurry is a liquid of creamy consistency with water content of about 35 to 50 percent, wherein particles, crushed to the fineness of Indian Standard Sieve number 9, are held in suspension. The slurry is pumped to slurry tanks or basins where it is kept in an agitated condition by means of rotating arms with chains or blowing compressed air from the bottom to prevent settling of limestone and clay particles. The composition of the slurry is tested and corrected periodically in the tube mill and also in the slurry tank by blending slurry from different storage tanks. Finally, the corrected slurry is stored in the final storage tanks and kept in a homogeneous condition by the agitation of slurry.
The corrected slurry is sprayed on to the upper end of a rotary kiln against hot heavy hanging chains. The rotary kiln is an important component of a cement factory. It is a thick steel cylinder of diameter anything from 3 metres to 8 metres, lined with refractory materials, mounted on roller bearings and capable of rotating about its own axis at a specified speed. The length of the rotary kiln may vary anything from 30 metres to 200 metres. The slurry on being sprayed against a hot surface of flexible chain loses moisture and becomes flakes. These flakes peel off and fall on the floor. The rotation of the rotary kiln causes the flakes to move from the upper end towards the lower end of the kiln subjecting itself to higher and higher temperature. The kiln is fired from the lower end. The fuel is either powered coal, oil or natural gas. By the time the material rolls down to the lower end of the rotary kiln, the dry material undergoes a series of chemical reactions until finally, in the hottest part of the kiln, where the temperature is in the order