Cement is a dust or fine, powdery substance that makes up concrete, mortar and plaster. Four main elements make up cement: calcium, aluminium, silicon and iron. The materials used to produce cement must have these four elements within the material for cement to mix properly.
Limestone is the main ingredient of cement. Calcium is found in the limestone, which is one of the elements required to make cement. Large limestone rocks get crushed to sizes less than 6 inches and then through another crusher that breaks the limestone up into 3-inch pieces. The crushed limestone is transported to a cement manufacturing facility.
Clay is another ingredient used to make cement. Silicon is the element found in clay. The limestone is mixed with the clay and is crushed. Once the clay and limestone get crushed, the raw material is sent to an additive silo where other ingredients can be mixed with the clay and limestone.
Sand is another ingredient used to produce cement. It also provides the silicon required for mixing cement. The sand used in cement is commonly called "construction sand." It is good for mortar, concrete and cement plaster.
Iron ore contains the aluminium and iron elements needed for a proper cement mix. Bottom ash also contains some of the elements required for cement production. Sand, iron ore and bottom ash get mixed with the crushed limestone and clay. Once all the ingredients get mixed together, they get crushed into a powder. The mixed powder is sent to a kiln where the cement mix gets heated to 1500 degrees Celsius. Heating the cement mixture at this temperature creates small marble-sized pellets.
After the cement mixture is created into small marble pellets called "clinker," gypsum and more limestone is added to the mixture. These ingredients get sent to a grinding mill where the ingredients get ground into the fine powder cement. The mill is a revolving cylinder that crushes the final cement ingredients with more than 250 tons of weighted steel balls driven by a motor.
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