With more than 3 billion tons produced each year, cement is the world’s most widely used building material and one of two largest producers of carbon dioxide (CO2) globally – responsible for 5-10% of all man-made emissions of this major greenhouse gas.
Beyond CO2 emissions, the dusting involved in handling cement is a very serious problem for those dealing with cement directly. The dust is harmful to breath in, and thus, creates a difficult environment to work in.
Numerous attempts have been undertaken in the industry to consolidate powdered cement into a solid granulated cement, but with limited success. INKAS® R&D team has tested, proven, and patented a method to create solid granulated cement which provides a practical solution within the industry.
There are a variety of granulation procedures and equipment, which can be broken down into two basic granulation principles: dry granulation with powder particles aggregated under high pressure and wet granulation with use of binders.
Dry granulation of cement under pressure is not a viable option as the powder cannot be simply compressed into a solid. Wet granulation involving the use of a binder, is possible, but it significantly reduces the activity of the cement as any water absorbed starts the irreversible chemical reaction that turns cement into concrete.
In the case of a water-soluble binder, the water in the binder would cause hydration of the cement, which would reduce the cement activity and again require re-grinding of the cement containing hydrated agglomerates.
In the case of a water insoluble binder, the granules should be re-grinded before mixing with water, down to the size of the original cement grains. The hardened water insoluble binder would then reduce activity of the cement.
However, INKAS® R&D team discovered the ability to use a special “invisible” binder that is essentially a force field of intermolecular interaction between cement particles. These naturally existing forces of mutual attraction between cement grains are multiplied by a process of cement physicochemical activation that was developed by INKAS® R&D team. The increased attraction of the cement particles to each other makes it possible to coat cement grains in smaller sub-micron powders and allows cement granulation while it is in an activated, energetically charged state.
The results of this granulation are shown in the attached photos. Figure 1 shows a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) image of the micron sized cement particles coated by sub-micron silica fume in the process of physicochemical activation, and Figure 2 shows a granulated cementitious mixture.
This innovative granulated cement was developed, produced, and patented by INKAS® and named “Macrocement”. INKAS® is thankful to its partners, and particularly, Estelle Havva Balevi of NRC-IRAP, for making this research possible.
To learn more about Macrocement, visit the Google Patents page, or click here to read more.