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Microscopy basics

Microscopy of cement clinker (optical and SEM) is usually carried out on polished sections but thin sections can also be used. The microscopist uses nodule microstructure, crystal size and distribution and other features to assess productions conditions such as raw material fineness, kiln temperature profile and cooling rate. The information obtained can then be used to predict the likely performance of cement made from the clinker, or perhaps indicate the cause of production difficulties such as poor combination. Microscopy is also used to examine the raw materials, coal or the cement.

At some cement works, microscopy is used routinely as a technique of kiln control, while some works rarely, if ever, examine their clinker microscopically. Most works fall somewhere between, with microscopy being carried out on an occasional basis.

Most cement microscopists are, almost by definition, employed by cement manufacturers or manufacturers' associations. WHD is unusual in that we are an independent private company offering this highly specialised service to the cement industry.

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

Applications of optical clinker microscopy

Some typical applications to clinker of both optical microscopy and SEM include:

In summary, clinker microscopy can help the cement manufacturer produce more consistent and better cement at lower cost.

 

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