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The paper discusses in detail the principles underlying today's common microstructural investigative techniques and their capabilities in diagnosing problems associated with clinker manufacture and their properties.
Several characterization techniques are available to the cement scientist/technologist. These can be divided into two broad categories, namely direct observation techniques: optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). An additional tool used in conjunction with SEM is the energy dispersive X-ray analyzer (EDXA) unit which enables chemical analysis to be performed simultaneously. Indirect interpretative technique mainly comprises X-ray diffraction (XRD).
While all these techniques offer useful information and some definite answers concerning raw materials, thermal history of clinkerization, and resulting clinker properties, sample preparation method is of prime importance in order to derive accurate data. Each technique requires a specific sample preparation process. These are described at some length.
A number of case histories of microstructural and microanalytical characterization of clinkers are also presented in order to highlight their importance in solving clinker-related problems.
Clinker, microstructure, raw meal, kiln, optical microscopy, SEM/EDXA, XRD, alkali sulfate, C, 3, S, C, 2, S, C, 3, A, C, 4, AF
Research Professor, Université de Sherbrooke, Quebec
Graduate Student, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec