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Petrography has long been used to reveal the microstructure of ores and minerals. Its use in the cement industry however is fairly new. Petrographic investigation can reveal various phases of cement. These provide an understanding of the burning process in the kiln, along with equally important factors which govern the quality of the cement, such as mortar strength, weather resistance and grindability. To obtain this information, the clinker or the concrete specimen must be prepared (polished) in a specific manner so that it can be analyzed under an optical microscope. This paper describes the various methods of specimen preparation which are used for microscopic investigation and application of improved preparation equipment is emphasized.
Clinker, concrete, microscopy, image analysis, petrography, microstructure, specimen preparation
Mineralogist, BUEHLER LTD., Lake Bluff, IL