SEM courses




Clinker and cement examination

Initial discussion: in order to know how we can best help, we need to know some basic information such as the nature of the material to be examined (clinker, cement, raw material etc.), the general background to the request for an examination and, for a clinker, a description of the works. We can then discuss sampling, give an estimate of the cost and the likely turnround time to issue a report. Reports can be in hard copy form or emailed as a Word or Acrobat document; the speed of transmission and the ability to distribute the report in a larger organisation, have made the electronic format the clear favourite in recent years.

Typical requirement for clinker examination: ideally, we prefer 3kg-5kg of clinker so that we can carry out a sieve analysis and have plenty of material for sampling. However, where clinker has to travel far, this has disadvantages and clients often prefer to send us a smaller sample. The sample should normally be a 'grab' sample, not an average sample. We will need a bulk analysis of the clinker and this is normally best provided by the client, although we can have a bulk analysis carried out if required. Additional analyses, such as thermal analysis or X-ray diffraction, can be arranged if necessary; we do not do these 'in-house.'

More is better! Examining a single sample of clinker in isolation will indicate the general features of that clinker but usually it is more useful to have at least two samples. In the simplest case, if clinker or cement characteristics have changed from normal, a sample of typical clinker to compare with the atypical clinker should highlight the differences. If a series of clinkers is examined over time, a picture will emerge of what is 'normal' for that works' clinker, providing a context for subsequent examination of single samples.

Mineralogical or physical causes? At the risk of stating the obvious, not all problems with cement have their origins in the mineralogy of the clinker. If, for example, early strengths have declined because the cement is coarser due to a problem with the mill, examining the clinker will not assist greatly!

Contact us: Call us or e-mail us to discuss your requirements and how we can help.

Clinker: introduction / optical microscopy / scanning electron microscopy / examining your clinker






Optical microscopy


Scanning electron microscopy


Examining your clinker


Concrete petrography


Concrete by SEM




Chromium (VI)


Understanding Cement seminars


UC Seminar details


UC e-book


UC Corporate edition


SEM - intro


SEM basics


EDX training


SEM/EDX of cement












Printer Map