Grinding aid (GA) is an important ingredient in cement production, as they enhance mills' output, reduce electrical energy consumption and improve the performance of cements. GA is also highly beneficial for preparation and optimization of raw meal fineness, such as, mitigating homogenization issues in the resulting clinkers and enhancing clinkers' burnability.
A clinker of poor quality can consume up to 80% more energy (+10-15 kwh/ton), but this cannot be fixed by simply adding GA in the process.
GA is not a simple low-cost Band-Aid solution to be used to fix bad quality clinkers nor a miracle cure to compensate for problematic production conditions. It is rather an added value product to be used with the most optimized conditions.
Quality control on the clinker using clinker microscopy coupled with XRD and chemical analysis is thus a priority in order to optimize its manufacturing process and truly get the full benefits from GA. Evaluation of a clinker’s characteristics provides valuable and precise information on the different steps of its fabrication:
⦁ raw meal preparation
⦁ composition and stability
⦁ kiln operation conditions
⦁ risk of build-up and ring formation
⦁ clinker granulation…
It also informs on some further important complementary issues regarding the early/late strength development, setting time and workability of concretes that are very often neglected or unknown.
Clinker Microscopy, with our expertise, is a powerful tool that identifies the composition, distribution and micro texture of the clinker phases. It allows to assess the quality of the raw material preparation, to monitor the kiln operating conditions (flame impact, residence time, pre-cooling, and cooling conditions), thus leading to the production of a higher-quality clinker and to thermal and power energy savings.
Here is an example of two different grades of clinkers assessed through microscopic analysis: