Volume 4, Issue 1 (January 2007)
Calcination of Marls to Produce Roman Cement
Marls were identified from a range of European sources and assessed for their Cementation Index, as proposed by Eckel. Two were selected for calcination in a laboratory kiln; one from Folwark in Poland (CI 1.75) and one from Lillienfeld in Austria (CI 2.03). Analysis of historical documents, while not revealing precise kiln conditions, does suggest that they were such as not to yield complete decarbonation of the calcite. Consequently, a series of calcinations was undertaken in which the peak temperature control of the kiln was set in the range 730°C to 1100°C, with residence times in the range 150 to 1250 min. The airflow through the kiln was sufficient to maintain a minimum oxygen content of at least 12 %. The resulting clinker was ground to comply with the 19th century Austrian Norme. Pastes were produced at w/c = 0.65 and assessed for setting time and strength development (6 h to 1 year). Both parameters were highly dependent upon calcination conditions with both “low” and “high” calcinations producing slower setting and slower strength development than intermediate conditions. Two strength development profiles were identified; one being the expected continuous increase of strength, albeit with a declining rate of increase with time, while the other showed a three-step sequence of high initial strength, a dormant period which could last for many weeks and a final increase in strength to an age of one year. The cements were compared using X-ray diffraction (XRD). Considerable variation in the composition was noted and related to the calcination conditions. Of particular interest is the formation of both α'-belite and β-belite under differing calcination conditions. Clinker particles were also compared using the SEM in back-scattered electron imaging mode and the development of morphology observed.