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Cement: An important building material.


Cement is an important building material. Cement is extensively used in different construction works. Cement is used in construction of buildings, bridges and foundations. The history of cement starts from an English mason Joseph Aspdin. He was the man who first of all introduced the cement. Joseph Aspdin heated the mixture of limestone and clay with water and then allows to stand this mixture. After sometime, this mixture is hardened like a stone. The hardened mass looks like portland rock.
Portland cement is a mixture of lime. Now we define the cement. Cement can be defined as material which is achieved by burning of an intimate mixture of calcareous and argillaceous material at sufficiently high temperature to produce clinker. The clinker is then grinded to a fine powder. There are some raw materials which are essential for cement. Without these raw materials, cement cannot be manufactured. These raw materials are lime, silica and alumina.
Lime is obtained from limestone and silica and alumina are present in clay. There are two categories of raw materials which are being used in manufacturing of cement. These are calcareous material and argillaceous material. Calcareous material contains some raw materials. These raw materials are limestone, marble, chalk and marine shells. Limestone is very important material for manufacturing of cement. Without limestone, cement cannot get its required quality and properties.
Almost every cement plant has its quarry. Quarry is a place where after mining limestone is extracted. Some explosive is used for extraction of limestone. A definite amount of explosive is used for mining. Then after extraction of limestone, it is transported to its required destination. Argillaceous material also contains a variety of raw materials being used in cement. These are clay, shale, slate and blast furnace slag. There are some other raw materials which are also used in production of cement. These include gypsum, water and fuel.
Lime is present in cement in a reasonable quantity. There are commonly two types of processes which are used for the manufacturing of cement. Every process has its characteristics and drawbacks. Every process requires some conditions for execution of process. The processes which are used in preparation of cement includes: (1) Dry process and (2) Wet process.
There are some factors which will decide whether we use wet process or dry process. These factors are physical condition of raw material, local climatic conditions which exist in industry and price of the fuel. Price of the fuel is very important for selection of process. Fuel is the main expenditure in production of cement. There are two types of fuels which are used in cement industry. The two types are: (1) main fuel and (2) alternative fuel. The main fuels which are being used include coal, hot gases and furnace oil.
Hot gases are generated from rotary kiln. These gases are very valuable for different purposes. These gases are used for generating power in cement plants. Different methods are used for fuel optimization. Major research work which is being carried out in cement plants is on fuel optimization. When utilization of fuel is optimized, the process will become cost effective.

Different types of techniques are used for optimization of fuel. These include heat balance and thermography. In dry process, the excessive fine grinding is required. Dry process is best suited when material is very hard. In wet process, there is no chance of dust. Actually, wet process is free of dust. In wet process, grinding can be easily done. Wet process has edge on dry process in case of grinding. In wet process, we can easily control the composition of cement. So, wet process seems most beneficial in comparison to dry process.
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