A is for alite

Published 18 June 2012

The characteristics of clinker minerals when viewed under the microscope reveal key information about the cement production process. Arthur Harrisson explains their importance, mineral non-equilibrium and mineralogy in practice. He also takes a closer look at the key mineral alite.

Optical microscope can reveal a wealth

of information about clinker manufacturing

processes and clinker properties

Cement clinker contains four main minerals, all of which are usually identifiable when clinker is examined under the microscope. The measurement of differences in size, shape, quantity of the minerals and their spatial relationships reveals a wealth of information about the manufacture of the clinker and also, according to many students of cement clinker microscopy, clues about the properties of the clinker relating to grindability, workability in concrete and ultimate strength in concrete and mortar.

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