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630

CEMENT

leaving behind an intimate mixture of chalk and clay in the form of a wet paste. This is dug out, and after being dried on floors heated by flues is ready for burning. This process is now almost obsolete. According to present practice the raw materials are mixed in a wash mill with so much water that the resulting slurry contains 40 to 50 per cent, of water. The slurry, which is wet enough to flow, is ground between millstones so as to complete the process of comminution begun in the wash mill. Thorough grinding and mixing are of the utmost importance, as otherwise the cement ultimately produced will be unsound and of inferior quality. The drying of the slurry is generally effected by the waste heat of the kilns, so that while one charge is burning another is drying ready for the next loading of the kilns. The kilns most commonly employed nowadays are “chamber kilns,” circular structures not unlike an ordinary running lime kiln, but thek'nn having the top closed and connected at the side with a wide flue in which the slurry is exposed to the hot products of combustion from the kiln. The farther ends of the flues of several such kilns are connected with a chimney shaft. The slurry, in drying on the floor of the flue, forms a fairly tough cake which cracks spontaneously in the process of drying into rough blocks suitable for loading into the kiln. At the bottom of the kiln is a grate of iron bars, and on this wood and coke are piled to start the fire. A layer of dried slurry is loaded on this, then a layer of coke, then a layer of slurry, and so on until the kiln is filled with coke and slurry evenly distributed. Fresh slurry is run on to the drying floors, and the kiln is started. The construction of an ordinary chamber kiln may be gathered from the accompanying diagram (Fig. 1).

The operation of burning is a slow one. An ordinary kiln, which will contain about 50 tons of slurry and 12 tons of coke, will take two days to get fairly alight, and will be another two or three days in burning out. Therefore, allowing adequate time for loading and unloading, each kiln will require about one week for a complete run The output will be about 30 tons jf “clinker” ready to be ground into cement. The grinding of the hard rock-like masses of clinker is effected between millstones, or in modern plants in ball-mills, tube-mills, and edge-runners. It is an important part of the manufacture, because the finished cement should be as fine and “ floury * as possible The foregoing description represents the procedure in use in many English factories. There are various modifications in practice according to local conditions : a few of these may be described. In all cases, however, the main operations are the same, viz., intimately mixing the raw materials, drying the mixture, if necessary, and burning it at a clinkering temperature (about 1500° C. = 2732° Fahr.). Thus when hard limestone is the form of calcium carbonate locally available, it is ground dry and mixed with the

correct proportion of clay also dried and ground. The mixture is slightly damped, moulded into rough bricks, dried and burned. A possible alternative is to burn the limestone first and mix the resulting lime with clay, the mixture being burned as before. By this method grinding the hard limestone is avoided, but there is an extra expenditure of fuel in the double burning Many different forms of kiln are used for burning Portland cement. Besides the chamber kilns which have been described, there are the old-fashioned bottle kilns, other which are similar to the chamber kilns, but are kilns. bottle-shaped and open at the top , they do not dry the slurry for their next charge. Their use is becoming obsolete. There are also stage kilns of the Dietsch type, which consist of two vertical shafts, one above the other, but not in the same vertical line, connected by a horizontal channel. At this middle portion and in the upper part of the lower shaft the burning proper proceeds; the upper shaft is full of unburnt raw material which is heated by the hot gases coming from the burning zone, and the lower shaft contains clinker already burned and hot enough to heat the incoming air which supplies that necessary for combustion at the clinkering zone. A pair of Dietsch kilns, built back to back, are shown in Fig. 2. Another form is the

Hoffmann or ring kiln, made up of a number of compartments arranged in a ring and connected with a central chimney; in these compartments rough brick - shaped masses of the raw materials are stacked, and between these bricks fuel is sprinkled. At a given moment one of these compartments is burning and at its full temperature ; the air for combustion is drawn in through one or more compartments behind it which have just finished burning, and is thereby strongly heated; the products of combustion pass away through one or more compartments in front of it and heat their contents before they are subjected to actual combustion. It will be seen that the principle of the ring kiln is similar to that of the stage kiln. In each case the clinker which has just been burned and is fully hot serves to heat the air supply to the com-